In a race which defined a rivalry, Jorge Lorenzo concedes he was too arrogant to try to block Valentino Rossi from his stunning last corner overtake to win the 2009 Catalunya MotoGP.
The five-time world champion took on Rossi for the 2009 MotoGP world title with the pair producing one of the all-time greatest races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that season which played a pivotal role on the championship fight.
Reflecting on the race, Lorenzo admits as a younger and less experienced rider he was arrogant to think Rossi wouldn’t attempt the late lunge at the final corner to win the race and feels he should have expected it having seen the Italian produce a similar daring overtakes.
“One part of me didn’t expect that move but another part of me did expect it, but I was a little bit too stubborn to really close the door, I was a little bit scared to close the door and change my racing line that I was doing for all the race,” Lorenzo told BT Sport. “So that is why I didn’t know what to do and he took profit from the situation.
“If you remember before that he made a similar move on Casey Stoner so he knew he could do this move because he had already done it in the past. He did it and I lost the win.”
Lorenzo puts his mistake down to inexperience at the time while he also says Rossi had been the stronger rider under braking out of the pair on the Yamaha – something he only improved on once he moved to Ducati in 2017.
“In that moment I was 22-years-old and I didn’t have the experience that I have now, Valentino was already 30 or almost 30 with a lot of experience,” Lorenzo explained. “Let’s say that he has always been a better and later braker than me in normal circumstances.
“Finally, I improved and understood how to brake later with the Ducati but in that period at Yamaha he was a later braker than me so he took profit from that, I was stronger in the corner speed area rather than on braking. So he had this skill and quality more than me and he took profit from it.
“What would have happened if I entered the corner more metres into the inside, we will never know, but probably I would have saved this overtake and I would have won. Maybe I would do a different line than my normal race and I would go outside the line and he would pass me later on the inside, you never know.”
Rossi’s victory in Barcelona proved pivotal for the rest of the season with the Italian going on to win four more races while Lorenzo would only reach the top step of the rostrum on two further occasions, with Rossi winning the 2009 MotoGP world title by 45 points by the end of the season.
“The winner of that race was crucial for the development of the championship from that moment,” Lorenzo said. “Unfortunately for me I lost that race and luckily for Valentino he won that race so he changed a little bit the way the championship was going to be.”
Since their rivalry as Yamaha team-mates the pair have begun to form a partnership with Lorenzo returning to the Japanese manufacturer as MotoGP test rider this year following his split from Honda. Current speculation also points to the pair potentially becoming team-mates again in the future but this time at the Petronas Yamaha satellite squad.