Jorge Lorenzo has defended his tactics in the dramatic Valencia MotoGP showdown by insisting the repeated signals from the Ducati team were ‘suggestions’ rather than orders, and feels his approach “was the best thing to do for all.”

Sitting fourth in an engrossing five-rider duel for the lead, the Majorcan repeatedly received messages from his team – first via dashboard communication, then via pit-board – to move aside and allow team-mate and title hopeful Andrea Dovizioso, who was sat just behind, through.

Unlike the previous encounter at Sepang, Lorenzo said he saw all of the signals, but felt Dovizioso would benefit from his lead. In his eyes, he had the better pace of the pair, and could carry the Italian forward toward the leading trio of Johann Zarco, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

To his credit, Dovizioso and Ducati management shrugged off the incident, the Italian rider going as far as backing Lorenzo’s claim that the Majorcan was aiding his own pace. And Lorenzo said, “If I was slow and stopping him then I would be very sorry but my feeling was true."

“I saw the messages but even looking at this 'suggestion' I kept pushing until the end,” said the 30-year old in a tense debrief, which included several heated exchanges with members of the Italian press.

“My feeling was the truth because I helped him to improve this one or two tenths of pace to be closer to the first group. My intention was to arrive to the first group – like I did because I was behind Pedrosa – and is Dovizioso was on my wheel and had the option to win I would let him pass. Unfortunately was not like that.

“If I saw that Marquez had crashed I would let him go. What more can I do? I tried to make my best for the team, for me and for Dovi. Maybe in some corners Dovi was close and I slowed down a little bit to give him some space but in general terms over thirty laps having my Ducati bike in front of him made him improve.

“I don't know, maybe Davide [Tardozzi – Ducati team boss] can say. It was a suggestion and I knew it. I repeat: I knew Dovi was making his best pace of the weekend in the race through the help of my wheel, and it was like that. I am happy because I was not wrong. If I was slow and stopping him then I would be very sorry but my feeling was true.

“I spoke with Gigi [Dall’Igna – Ducati technical chief] in Malaysia before the race but I didn't speak this time but I am not stupid and I knew exactly what I had to do. I didn't make the suggestion. I decided on my own and I thought it was the best thing to do for all.”

Asked whether he had explained his actions to the team just after the race, Lorenzo added, “Gigi asked me if I saw the messages and I told him that, for me, it was the best thing to do. He talked with Dovi and he would say my wheel helped him to arrive. I went also to Dovi to explain why I kept pushing and he said ‘I did not have anything more.’”

And what did Lorenzo think of the critical reaction from fans for the afternoon’s events? “Firstly I am a person – at this moment in time – that does not care about what people think,” he said. “I do what I think is right and I want the best for the team. This time it was the same.

“I don't know why we keep talking about that. It is already difficult for a team to understand so imagine for people who are not in this business; it is ten times more difficult.”

Ultimately, Lorenzo’s tactics had no great significance on the outcome of the world championship. Not only did Marc Marquez comfortably finish in the top ten to guarantee his fourth premier class title in five years, but Dovizioso was unable to bridge the gap to the leaders.

“I was completely over the limit,” Dovizioso said of his attempts to remain with the leading trio. Lorenzo agreed. His choosing of the hard front left him lacking feel when entering the corners, a facet that was key in his crashing out of third on lap 25.

“Here I have always been competitive and I was also with the Ducati but we were missing in some areas of the track, especially the slow turns,” he said. “The hard front didn't help. We were scared the soft would only last the first part of the race so the hard was our only hope. I struggled so much.

“As Andrea I was over the limit. Finally I had my wish because Zarco and Dani dropped the pace a bit but at that moment I started to feel the front closing in almost all the corners. If the front was more stable and ‘grippy’ we would have had the pace at the end of the race to fight for the win. My chance to crash was very high and that's what happened.”


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