Another blow has been struck in the ongoing battle for supremacy inside the Fiat Yamaha garage. After Valentino Rossi announced that Yamaha would have to choose between himself and team mate Jorge Lorenzo - before backpedalling to the Italian press - this time, it is the turn of Jorge Lorenzo's side of the garage to get in a blow. That comes in an interview with the Spanish broadcaster Cadena SER, in which Marcos Hirsch, Lorenzo's manager and confidant, launched a blistering attack on the 9-time World Champion.
"It's sad that a champion of the stature of Valentino Rossi is so preoccupied by Jorge," Hirsch told Cadena SER. "What he should be doing is being happy, fighting on track and beating him man-to-man, and not using strategies like saying 'get out of here' and 'I don't want you here'." Hirsch was most critical of Rossi's mind games: "His psychological strategy of sending messages using friendly journalists surprises me a little."
Hirsch repeated that Lorenzo was untroubled by the situation, and that he did not view the rivalry with Rossi as something special. "He is one more rival to beat," Hirsch said. "A rival at an incredibly high level, but that's all. There are other riders on the track who are talented and fast, and you never know what is going to happen."
Hirsch was particularly critical of the way Rossi was putting pressure on Yamaha. "They are both employees of Yamaha," Hirsch said of Rossi and Lorenzo, but he could not understand how Rossi could be allowed to put Yamaha's bosses "up against the wall." Hirsch emphasized that he thought it was very sad that a champion of Rossi's stature should stoop to the level of mind games and political pressure. "It is sad that Rossi ... feels the need to fight his battles in backrooms and corridors to try and gain some kind of advantage."
Hirsch's criticism did not prevent the giant Brazilian from applying a little pressure of his own. Lorenzo, Hirsch said, would not discount leaving Yamaha. "We will listen to the people who come and talk to us, and together with Jorge, we will weigh up what we believe is the best for Jorge's career in motorcycle racing." Lorenzo's decision would not be affected by political infighting, nor would he be forced to take a decision before he was ready, Hirsch told Cadena SER. "If we have to weigh up options with Suzuki, Honda, Ducati, we will not take any account of whether Mr Rossi says he wants us to leave or not," Hirsch said.
Lorenzo's manager could not resist a final dig at his charge's team mate. "[Rossi] will never be able to put Jorge off balance. He tried hard this year, trying to push him to the limit, but I think that he won because we lost."