16 October 2015
MotoGP Australia: Lorenzo: No need for 'Valencia' tactics yet
“I don't think it's the right strategy for the moment. We'll see in the future if we have to use it or not”- Jorge Lorenzo.
Having dropped 18 points behind Valentino Rossi, winning the remaining three rounds is no longer enough to guarantee Jorge Lorenzo the MotoGP title.
Instead - even if the Spaniard is victorious at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia - he needs to rely on another rider beating Movistar Yamaha team-mate Rossi to second place at one of those events.
That raises the prospect of Lorenzo - dominant in the dry for the past five rounds - employing 'go slow' tactics; backing-up the field with the aim of helping other riders finish ahead of Rossi.
It may be the opposite of Lorenzo's usual style, in which he breaks the competition with a blistering early pace, but it's exactly what happened during the 2013 Valencia title showdown with Marc Marquez (pictured).
Needing to overturn a 13-point advantage for the Honda rider, Lorenzo delivered a brilliant if brutal display of defensive riding, strangling the pace at the front to try and allow other riders to overtake Marquez.
Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa did his best to thwart Lorenzo's plan by attacking for the lead - resulting in some harsh retaliation passes from the #99, who couldn't afford to lose the full 25 victory points.
In the end, with no help arriving, Lorenzo upped his pace and rode to victory over Pedrosa, while Marquez claimed the title with a safe third.
Afterwards Pedrosa, who came close to falling at one stage, didn't complain about the treatment dished out by Lorenzo: “Obviously Jorge's strategy was clear and I understand.”
Pedrosa also added that Lorenzo should have tried those tactics before the final round. “I think this strategy was good, but he should have already been thinking like this in Motegi [the round before],” Pedrosa said.
Might that be the case in 2015?
At Phillip Island on Friday Crash.net asked Lorenzo if and when he might repeat the Valencia 2013 tactics this season.
The Spaniard, a close second to Marquez in Friday practice at Phillip Island, replied:
“You know, I think at this moment the possibility to win the race and have Marquez or Pedrosa finish in front of Valentino is quite high. The race is very long and finally, sooner or later, a rider who has pace will finish in front [of Rossi].
“If you try to slow down the race with riders like Marquez, who have nothing to lose, it's difficult. And in tracks like Phillip Island with the wind and everything I don't think it's the right strategy for the moment.
“We'll see in the future if we have to use it or not, but for the moment I would like to be able to fight for the win here and in Malaysia and then let's see which position Valentino is able to finish.
“Maybe he finishes in front of me, and maybe what you say is necessary in the future.”
Rossi was ninth fastest on Friday, but felt he was close to Lorenzo for race pace. In terms of the Italian's title strategy, Rossi said that an 18-point lead is not enough for him to plan on following Lorenzo home in the last three races.
“For me no. I need to arrive in front of Jorge minimum of one time, I think, to try to arrive in front after Valencia.”
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