With the 2014 MotoGP season at an end, it is time for the teams to look back at the year. In a pair of press release interviews, the Movistar Yamaha team reviews 2014 with its riders. First up is Jorge Lorenzo, who takes a frank and open look back at what has been a very difficult season for him. In the interview, he reviews his own performance, where he went wrong in the first part of the season, how he was stronger at the end of the year, and evaluates his main rivals:
Q: The 2014 season is over. Can you evaluate your performance?
JL: “Well, I think the balance is maybe not one of my best seasons since I switched to MotoGP. This has been one of the worst, not so different to 2008. Back then I wasn’t so consistent, I started well but finished pretty bad. Now it’s a bit the opposite; at the beginning was really tough and gradually I got better. During the season either my performance or the bike was improving and at last the results from Sachsenring becoming better and better.”
Q: Which was the worst moment throughout the season?
JL: “The Qatar-Austin-Argentina period, no doubt. There I felt the pressure and I needed to make a good result because the first two races I struggled a lot and we made some big mistakes.”
Q: And the happiest moment?
JL: “The Aragón victory, and also Japan. The one in Aragon was unexpected because we were so far during all the sessions but then the race became chaotic because of the rain and finally we won. But also there were some races where we finished second like Mugello and Silverstone and we enjoyed them a lot.”
Q: Last season was tough for you and you needed an extra effort. This situation affected the beginning of the current season?
JL: “I don’t think so. I love hard work and training and I love racing. Sometimes you need some quiet moments to recover and unplug but the problem maybe last year was this relaxing time was too long. I had several surgeries to take out some pieces of metal from the past that were creating some problems for me in some parts of my body. I had three operations with general anesthesia and that didn’t leave me so much time to get fit. Then if you add that the bike at the beginning was not so competitive the problems grow.”
Q: Do you have any regret?
JL: “Maybe I regret not planning in a better way the surgeries and not training as I should to get started in a good shape.”
Q: Then you learnt an important lesson…
JL:“I guess we could say we sacrificed one season to get fit for the future.”
Q: Then could we say your main enemy was Jorge Lorenzo?
JL: “Yes, but this is normal for everyone. Every rider has his own enemy in himself. You always have to fight against yourself during training sessions, to overcome your problems. If you don’t try to improve all the time you’ll never win against the others because we are talking about the best motorcycling championship on earth. Here everybody is talented and everybody works really hard and if you don’t work enough you lose.”
Q: The second half of the season demonstrated when you are fit it is really difficult to beat you. What can we expect for next season if you are at 100%?
JL: “Well, the current level is so high; especially the first four riders in the championship regarding speed, constant pace and focus. To go one more step ahead is really difficult but it’s crystal clear that if you are in a perfect shape either physically or mentally and the bike works well everything is easier. In my case it is so; if I’m fine and pretty focused I can fight for the victories.”
Q: As in real life you never stop learning and you always need to work even harder to achieve the goals. Do you know where your limit is?
JL: “Every time you have more knowledge, more experience and you really know what you need to do or not. But even if it’s really difficult to keep all your skills you have to be focused to maintain your motivation, your abilities and take out the weak points. Anyway it’s always hard to achieve it. I don’t really know where my limit is but I guess I still have a bit to get it.”
Q: What are you able to improve as a rider?
JL: “Going fast on the bike is a compromise to not brake so late and gain acceleration and not too soon to lose metres at the entry of the corner. Maybe I’m not the best braker compared to my rivals and not the best fighter face to face on track so I have to work on it. Obviously I’m a better rider than in 2008 or 2009 but I’m still learning and I think I have a margin.”
Q: And what about the M1?
JL: “Right now we have a very good bike, we can speed up stronger than before, the speed is really good and our chassis is very competitive. Maybe we can gain more in terms of electronics and on braking, our weakest point.”
Q: What would you steal from your rivals?
JL: “From Valentino I would take his world titles (laughs). No, I was joking. Honestly I would steal from him his abilities in a race for improvisation or his intelligence to manage the race when he is on the bike. Regarding Dani, I think he is so technical and he is able to get some advantage on acceleration because of his weight and exiting the corners. And concerning Márquez I will take his mentality. He never gives up and he always tries to win, even in the tougher conditions. Sometimes he takes too many risks but he always tries it.”
Q: In Assen you said you felt scared. How is it to admit that issue as a top rider?
JL: “It wasn’t the first time. In 2008 I crashed a lot and I got injured. I remember at Donington, when I came back on track I admitted I was scared because the fear was there and I had to overcome it. Maybe it is something nobody admits because it could be your main enemy later on. This season is the same but it was logical after last year’s big crash when I got injured. But back then I could make a great race and finished in fifth. One year later I felt scared but I had to say the truth and so many people thanked me for my honesty. Maybe these quotes didn’t help me with the team because we were in the middle of the negotiations for the future.”
Q: This year the first win was delayed a lot. How did you feel in Aragón?
JL: “Yes, there was a mental relief for me. I’d never been in a hurry looking for the victory and I wasn’t obsessed because I knew that the win would arrive at any time when we were prepared but it’s true I still didn’t get the victory and Valentino achieved it before me. Yes, I have to say afterwards I felt liberated.”
Q: How did you change your riding style this year and why?
JL: “It’s not completely changed but it’s true I made some variations, I keep training with my father where we try to fix some small details because we still need to go faster.”
Q: How did Marquez’s arrival in MotoGP affect you?
JL: “Marc is so strong and has a lot of skills. One of them is he learns so quickly, on braking he is extremely strong and has a special riding style that permits him to play with the bike. The Honda bike allows him this kind of style, maybe because of the chassis, it looks more flexible. He can show a sort of supermotard style and obviously is a tough rival to fight with face to face. He always wants to dominate elsewhere, at every session and that is so stimulating for us, it’s something that feeds us to try to beat him.”
Q: On the other hand is Valentino, 35 years old, who improved a lot, how did he help you?
JL: “Well, it’s incredible and he deserves his success. We are not going to discover right now Valentino, a rider who fought against three or four different generations and he still keeps being so competitive. It’s not necessary to speak about his statistics because we know they are impressive. Suffering two really bad years with Ducati, another regular year with Yamaha and coming back on the podium, even winning races is something unbelievable, nobody got this in the past. I think he is a good example for the youngest riders that maybe can understand how to manage to improve and never give up and try to adapt to the new times. Last year I beat him regularly and this season it cost me a lot. It is also a motivation for me!”
Q: Anyway you are in front a huge challenge, to equal Kenny Roberts or Wayne Rainey with three titles on Yamaha and also defeat three different generations of big champions as Rossi, Stoner or Márquez. How much are you planning to work for it?
JL: “I’m always clear whilst I am here I’ll try to give the maximum either inside or outside the track. I’m one who likes to do everything at 100 per cent so I’m going to try to get fit and push at the limit to improve day by day. Winning the third title would be marvelous and I look forward to looking for it!”