Jorge Lorenzo has said that his motivation won't be found wanting as he aims to add a fourth MotoGP world title to his trophy cabinet in 2016.
The reigning world champion, who was moved to defend his on-track record (along with his off-track conduct) over the past year at his Movistar Yamaha team's launch in Barcelona, spoke of how the seismic arrival of Marc Marquez to the class in 2013 was supposed to signal the beginning of a Doohan-like era of domination.
Rather, due to the M1's clear superiority coupled with Marquez's problems with an out-of-sorts 2015 RC213V engine, the Majorcan reasserted his placing as the top Spanish rider in the premier class, one which he had previously held from 2009 to 2012.
Perhaps tellingly, it was this that Lorenzo pointed to, rather than his eventual defeat of team-mate Valentino Rossi in the absorbing 2015 duel, that has given him the confidence to believe he can repeat his title winning feats in the next two years.
“We have to keep in mind that from 2010, I was the only rider able to beat the Hondas,” replied Lorenzo to a question asking whether motivation can be an issue in the wake of a title triumph. “In 2012 I beat Casey [Stoner], in 2015 I beat Márquez. In the last six years, we were able to do it, and it wasn't easy.
“Especially when Marc came into MotoGP, it was like he was going to win five, six years in a row, but we were able to beat him. So it gave me a lot of motivation, and I'm very proud, and it gives me a lot of confidence that we can do it. We can do it with Yamaha, and I can do it as a rider. If we did it in 2015, there's no reason why we can't make it in 2016 and 2017.”
The 28-year old mentioned in the official presentation that winning a premier class title eventually leads to a full month of sponsorship commitments at the close of the year, depriving him of time to work on his physical condition.
His peak level of fitness around the beginning of 2015 was all in contrast to his out-of-shape demeanour the year before, when a winter of complications distracted him from adequately honing his fitness.
Lorenzo continued that he has since learnt his lesson from the beginning of 2014, and will ensure that he does not repeat his mistakes of the past.
“The problem in 2014 was not only one problem. It was also a combination of problems, not only of myself, but also the bike, that was not the same from the middle of 2014, it was a much more complete bike, so the bike was not working at its best, but also I have some problems of my fitness, that was because my delay of training, but also because I had two or three operations.
“I also changed my trainer, so it was more complicated to be focused and to be ready for the Qatar race. I was leading that until I crashed. But anyway, I will not make the same mistake. I learned from it. But apart from the fact that we started a little bit later than the other riders, I think we have time enough, and I have the right trainer, and I have the right idea about how to arrive at Qatar in the best shape.”
A rider that is dependent on his feel with the front end of the motorcycle, Lorenzo continued to state how the new technical regulations, that sees riders switch to Michelin tyres and spec electronics software for 2016, will be suited to “the more sensitive rider.”
“I think now, to ride the bike will be more difficult. This will help for the more technical riders, who will have less help from the electronics, because now the percentage of throttle which you keep at full open is less. And it's less percentage per corner, so you have to play more with the throttle, and the more technical and the more sensitive rider will have less problems than the more aggressive or less technical riders.
“Of course I think with the new tires, especially the front, we will have more crashes than last year. So the changes are very big from two sides, from the electronics and the tires, and it is very interesting to see in Malaysia and Phillip Island what the performance of the riders, and also the bike. The riders in terms of adaptation to the new rules, and the factories improve their bikes from the Valencia test.”
Coming off three disappointing races at the beginning of 2015, Lorenzo romped to a dominant win at round four in Jerez, where his winning margin was his largest in dry conditions since Phillip Island, two years before.
Part of this remarkable turnaround stemmed from taking up the option to continue with Yamaha for 2016, giving him the mental security to focus solely on on-track matters.
With the contracts of all top riders coming to an end at the close of 2016, the MotoGP paddock will be rife with speculation regarding the futures of the Repsol Honda, Movistar Yamaha and factory Ducati pilots in the first part of the new year.
Lorenzo admitted that he hopes to have his future resolved as soon as possible, because of those feelings of calm it brings, and added that he will see if he can do so before the season gets underway in Qatar on March 20th.
“My experience in the last two years demonstrated to me that if I know my future, if I know what is going to happen in my future, I can ride it a little bit better. It's not a thing I have in my mind consciously, but unconsciously it can affect a little bit my riding.
“But to be honest, I'm not in a hurry, I can wait some races, I can wait until the middle of the year, because I believe in my riding, I believe in my possibilities, I believe in my performance.
"Obviously, if you know what is going to happen in your future before the first race, this gives you more quietness, not only to me, but to all riders. I repeat, I am not in a hurry, but we will see if we can have my future ready if it's possible before the season.”