New MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has described Sunday's title-deciding race at Valencia in Spain as perhaps the hardest of his career.
The Movistar Yamaha rider led from start to finish but was placed under intense pressure in the final laps by Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, although neither managed to attempt a pass.
Lorenzo kept his cool at the front and rode a faultless race to take the chequered flag, wrapping up the championship after a nerve-wracking final 30 laps at the Ricardo Tormo circuit to pip team-mate Valentino Rossi by five points after a roller-coaster year.
“It was one of the toughest races, if not the toughest races [of his career] because the tension was very high from the first corner,” said Lorenzo, who previously won the MotoGP title in 2010 and 2012.
“I tried to push like normal in the first laps with the new tyre, then it was difficult because the rear tyre started to drop, especially on the right side.
“The bike was moving so much in acceleration and spinning so much and I had to be very careful if I didn't want to crash. It was very difficult to still keep the '31, '31.5 [laps] even a '31 high because in the last laps I started going '32 zero, '32.1, '32.2 and it was difficult with the tyre to keep even this pace.
“Also it was a problem to see the board and half of the laps I couldn't see it; so I pushed at the maximum and gave everything I had from the first corner to the last one, not thinking about anything but just to ride and give the maximum with the bike on the tyre,” he added.
“Finally on the board in the last laps I could see Marc was getting closer and also Dani was recovering so much, so I kept pushing and trying to go as fast as possible.”
Lorenzo said he was proud to equal motorcycling greats including Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts Snr with his third premier class crown and fifth world title and revealed he struggled to see the information on his pit board and believed there were still some laps remaining until he caught sight of the chequered flag.
“Finally, the effort was worth it because now we can say that we are five-times world champion and three times in MotoGP, equalling legends like Wayne Rainey, my friend and legend Kenny Roberts Snr and in the motorsport world, Ayrton Senna, so I am starting to feel that,” he said.
“We have to enjoy at the maximum this afternoon and tonight, this week and next week because these moments are very difficult to reach. We are going to fight to have it again but it will be difficult.
“It was difficult because on my board I could not see so much and for my information I could not see where Valentino was; I imagined that he was in fourth position, so I tried to ride at my best and I believe there was still some laps to the end, but when I entered the last corner I see the chequered flag and I say okay, it is mine and I could breathe deeply.
“I take the Spanish flag and I got very emotional; normally I don't cry but this time I couldn't avoid this moment and I couldn't enjoy or say hi to the fans because I was really, really emotional.”