11 June 2015
MotoGP Catalunya: Rossi, Lorenzo recall 2009 showdown
“You have the clear feeling it was the moment, the moment of the great fight” - Valentino Rossi.
The last time Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo arrived at Catalunya both in contention for the MotoGP title, the race ended in a thrilling last corner showdown.
Local star Lorenzo had successfully kept his Yamaha team-mate at bay at the main overtaking spot at the end of the back straight, but the Italian pulled out a move he had used only once before to snatch victory from Lorenzo's hands on entry to the last turn.
On the eve of this weekend's event, which title leader Rossi will start with a six point advantage over Lorenzo, the pair were asked about that race.
“I remember very well. I think it was one of the best battles of my career,” Rossi began. “Jorge was in his second season so he wanted to try to win the championship and sincerely our speed, our performance, was very equal.
“We arrived here very close in the ranking and from Friday every time we go on the track we improve the lap time, we improve the setting, we try always to arrive in front. So the battle was all the weekend.
“I remember on Saturday on the last lap we fight for the pole position and Jorge beat me by 0.013s. You arrive in the race and you have the clear feeling it was the moment, the moment of the great fight. Accept for some laps when Stoner was with us, we were alone. It was incredible because our performance, our speed was very, very similar.
“He tried to go, I recovered. I tried to go in front but he stayed with me and for that reason it was fantastic. Because it was very equal. For sure I remember it in a better way than Jorge because I won!
“Usually the last moment to attack was the braking after the back straight. But Jorge exit very fast from Turn 8 so I wasn't able to arrive in the right position to overtake. But I don't give up because I know that maybe I have another chance because in 2007 one time I overtake Stoner before the last corner.
“I think I have to try. It was a great moment but I don't remember very well what happened. I just tried to go inside. I was able to keep the line.
“To win at the last corner is a great emotion because it is all together, no? The overtake and you cross the line in the same moment so it is a great emotion. The battle continued also in the other races but it was a special one.”
Lorenzo joked that he doesn't remember the race quite as well.
“Valentino can write a book about this race, as you can see,” he smiled. “But I don't remember very well! Especially the last corner... or I don't want to remember so much. But you know I think it was one of the best races in history, or the one you can see more show. It is difficult to find a battle defines the result in the last corner and we just did everything we got.
“As Vale said, our performance was very equal during not only the race but in practice all weekend. I think he beat me because he was more clever. Just like that. He had more experience, more clever. He did it before with Stoner in 2007. He made the same, just this time it was more important. The last corner of the last lap.
“It can happen again. Everything can happen. I hope to act differently after so many years, more experience and more battles. Apart from the defeat I've got great memories of this race because we made a very nice battle. I don't want to remember so well, as I said, but we made a great race.
“Every year and every season is different. He won that race, I beat him in other races... We are going to have great battles in the future, don't worry about that.”
Asked if there could be a repeat this weekend, Rossi quipped: “If he [Lorenzo] goes a little bit more slow, then yes! I will try for sure.”
Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, then riding in his first full GP season in the 125cc class, also shared his memories of the 2009 race.
“Of course I remember. I think everybody remember this last corner by Valentino," he said. "But especially all the race was a great battle. I will try and I hope to arrive at this situation on Sunday. It will be difficult but we will try."
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