10 July 2014
German MotoGP: Rossi 'I have a long history with Jorge!'
“I am in front of Jorge in the standings and I'm very proud of it because without any doubt he is one of the best” – Valentino Rossi.
With Valentino Rossi wrapping up a new Movistar Yamaha contract, team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is now the last of the big four MotoGP riders still to sign.
However with Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa joining Rossi in agreeing new two-year contracts, Lorenzo his few competitive options others than to remain on the M1.
Lorenzo has raced for Yamaha since joining MotoGP in 2008, spending his first three seasons alongside Rossi - including the first of two title victories in 2010, having been leading on points when Rossi broke his leg. Rossi then left for a winless two seasons at Ducati, returning to Yamaha and Lorenzo in 2013.
The relationship between the pair was somewhat hostile during their first period as team-mates, which began with a wall dividing the pit garage due to different tyre suppliers - which remained in place even after the single tyre rule began in 2009.
The atmosphere was less frosty on Rossi's Yamaha return last season, when Lorenzo outscored the Italian by eight wins to one. However the championship situation has been reversed in 2014. Rossi is currently best of the rest behind Marquez, while Lorenzo is only fifth in the standings after his worst ever start to a premier-class season.
“I have a long history with Jorge!” smiled Rossi. “I like a lot. It's good because in 2008 when Jorge arrived at Yamaha, I was the veteran and he was the young guy and from the beginning it was a very great battle in the pits. Jorge grew up a lot and arrived to beat me in 2010.
“I changed teams and when I came back to Yamaha last year I was clearly on the 'second step'. But is normal. I am happy about my work because I'm growing up. I'm able to improve this year, to be more competitive, make some changes in the pit box that work well and at this moment we are very much at the same level - always Yamaha try to treat us exactly the same.
“At this moment I am in front of Jorge in the standings and I'm very proud of it because without any doubt he is one of the best. I hope that he remains [at Yamaha] because it is always a great battle and great motivation to stay in front of him with the same bike.”
Rossi added: “I am happy if Jorge remains also to help develop the bike, because he always pushes 100 percent and brings the bike to the limit. So I think he is the best team-mate. There are other good riders like [Tech 3 Yamaha's] Pol Espargaro but I hope that Jorge remains.”
With Lorenzo often struggling to get the best out of the revised 2014 tyres, Rossi was asked whether the changes to his riding style this season have been influenced by the likes of Marquez or due to the stiffer, heat resistant rubber:
“I think Marc has a different style. Another step different. I always look at Dani and especially Jorge, who has the same bike, to modify a bit the position on the bike and the movement of the bike. I think I improve, but have a lot of work to do.
“About the new tyres, for example Jorge has a lot of problems this season but for me I don't feel a lot of difference. For me the new tyres are sometimes better. Maybe is it better for my riding style.
“But anyway if you want to stay in the game you have to always try to learn from the fastest, and try to improve always the style. It never stops.”
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