Jorge Lorenzo says he couldn't have wished for more in his final race weekend as a Yamaha rider after ending his nine-year career with the Japanese manufacturer on a winning note at Valencia in Spain.
Lorenzo repeated his 2015 victory at the Ricardo Tormo circuit as he led all the way from pole position to clinch a fitting win at the final round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship from the late charging Marc Marquez.
The Mallorcan, who will have his first ride on the factory Ducati at the post-race test on Tuesday, said it was the perfect swansong as he capped his 250th Grand Prix start with a stunning win.
“These last nine years have been very successful and it was a perfect weekend with the 250th GP, pole position, fastest lap and the victory. I'm very proud and very happy,” Lorenzo said.
“For sure we have to enjoy this now with all my team, these last hours together, and after tonight to take profit of all the hours for remember this year in the best way. I was lucky I could push and ride very well in the first laps so I couldn't give a better present for Yamaha.
“I struggled so much in the last ten laps because the maximum gap was five seconds, then the gap reduced to 4.5 seconds and eventually I saw Marc in second place,” he added. “I knew he was going to try everything and probably also he would have a better rear tyre or he had saved the tyre more on the left.
"I was struggling so much in the middle of the race. I had to be very focused and very precise not to lose the rear, especially in the last corner, and he was coming so quick and recovering eight tenths, nine tenths, so I was lucky that he had so many problems at the beginning.”
Lorenzo hailed his title-winning season last year as his best as a Yamaha rider and said he will strive to achieve even greater heights at Ducati.
“Probably 2015 was the season when I reached my top level as a rider but I hope and I will work to reach an even better level in the future.
“Last year here was very important because I have all the pressure on me and I reached my highest level on Saturday in the qualifying,” said Lorenzo. “I kept a very high pressure from the Honda riders during all the race and I reached probably the toughest championship in all my career and won my final world title for Yamaha.
“Assen 2013 was also very special because I achieved one thing that has been impossible to achieve in all the history because coming from an operation after 30 hours and finishing a MotoGP race in top five has been amazing also.
“But I never regret and I leave a great team, a champion team, but hopefully my next team – it's a great team – can become a champion team.”
Lorenzo knew from opening practice on Friday that he had a chance of fighting for the victory at Valencia and said his confidence was high from his first laps in FP1.
“It's not because my motivation made me go faster but because my confidence gives me finally more motivation and determination. When I saw on Friday that I have plenty of confidence, this gives me the condition and motivation to push harder,” he said.
“From the first moment this weekend I was very competitive from the first laps and I think this was one of the keys of this victory. I expected Marc to stay with me in the first laps but luckily for me he had some problems with his clutch or his bike and that's when my gap was done. If he was following all the race I would struggle and maybe not get the victory, so today I was lucky.”
Asked to rate his season on a scale of one to ten, Lorenzo awarded himself a five, explaining: “Last race, 10, because I couldn't finish in a better way, the season, a five: too many mistakes and a lot of struggles in cold conditions and wet conditions.”
Lorenzo finished third in the final championship standings behind world champion Marquez and team-mate Valentino Rossi.