Lorenzo Happy To Stay At Yamaha Alongside Rossi

There has been widespread speculation (including by this author in an opinion piece on MotoMatters.com) that the Fiat Yamaha team is simply not big enough for both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, and that one or the other of them will be forced to leave at the end of 2010. Given the incredible selling power of Valentino Rossi - not just today, but probably for the next thirty or more years - the most likely scenario is that Jorge Lorenzo will be forced to up sticks and move, either to Honda or to Ducati.

Jorge Lorenzo, however, has other ideas. Speaking to Radio Catalunya this morning, the Mallorcan told Manel Fuentes that his aim is to stay with Yamaha, whatever Valentino Rossi decides to do. "I would like to stay with Yamaha, because we're a great team, a very competitive team," Lorenzo said. The Mallorcan acknowledged that his relationship with this teammate was far from ideal, but denied this formed a problem. "The atmosphere in the team is hardly incredibly friendly, we don't have an intimate friendship," Lorenzo said. "It's a good professional relationship, a working relationship."

Politically, Lorenzo's pronouncement is a very smart move, placing the ball firmly back in Valentino Rossi's court. Yamaha have already publicly stated that they would like to keep Valentino Rossi within the company until he retires from motorcycle racing, and if Lorenzo is happy to figure alongside Rossi, then it is up to the Italian to persuade Yamaha to get rid of his Spanish teammate. The question of who is number one in the team is not relevant, as Lorenzo affirmed that both bikes are the same. When asked directly by Manel Fuentes whether Rossi's bike was better than his, Lorenzo replied, "No, not at all. The Yamahas are identical."

Rossi has stated that he will make a decision on his future by the end of June. He has until then to decide whether he is happy to have Jorge Lorenzo alongside him in the Fiat Yamaha team, or whether he will try to find an alternative to that situation.

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Aha. So, last year he basically said that working with the best bike and team is important, but getting the right amount of money for "the value that I have" is more important; now that he got the money and allegedly the influence he wanted he finally realized again that being a factory Yamaha rider is a pretty sweet deal indeed?
Fascinating. Maybe the press is lucky and he sticks to that conviction this year during silly season.

I don't suppose he was asked if he would take a paycut (or, at least, not renew last year's bidding war) to keep that seat?  Maybe he could find a personal sponsor to fill the gap? 

It sounds like a professional statement from a rational person. Very unfortunate for tongues waiting to wag.

Here's something for the Spies fan club to make this relevant: When he says, 'The Yamahas are the identical', does he mean that Tech 3 has the same bikes as Rossi and Lorenzo?

I doubt he, or anyone else really, thinks that the Tech 3 machines are (or will be) the same, but the fact that Spies has a two year contract gives Yahama an ace-in-the-hole that weakens Lorenzo's bargining position don't cha know.

I am a big Spies fan but I like Lorenzo as well. I hope they get the best machines and dollars/euros they can.

Come on April 11th!

Why wouldn't Tech 3 get the same bikes? They seem to have a very close relationship with Yamaha more than any other 'satellite' team. I don't think they are concerned about being embarrassed by Edwards and if Spies is their 'ace in the hole', why hold him back. It seems Yamaha does things differently than Ducati and Honda. I think it extends into this area as well.

Generally no factory team will allow a satellite team equal equipment, it's a pragmatic decision to keep the factory team (and thus the big dollar sponsors) at the front of the field. Fiat would be most unhappy should Tech3 start hogging the telecast footage and Yamaha will not wish to risk losing their prime sponsor.

Having said that, I'm sure I read that all four Yamahas are starting the season with the same spec. But as the season progresses, only Fiat Yamaha will get the serious updates; Tech3 will get the hand-me-downs. It won't stop Spies from tagging along at the front of the field, though.

The spoof videos that Yamaha releases do give the impression of a tight relationship between the factory and satellite teams, but rest assured that it is based more on savvy marketing of Yamaha's roadbikes (and potential sponsorship opportunities for the race teams) than on any real desire to see the Tech3 bikes on the podium on a regular basis.

I understand that's how it traditionally works. But this new cost cutting era is not a traditional time. Yamaha pays for Spies so he's a factory man. Why wouldn't they give him the factory bike? I doubt they are worried that he'll be pushing Rossi off the top step and making them look bad. It just makes their stable even more attractive to sponsors. Also in this effort to reduce costs and make engines last longer, I doubt there will be many upgrades like in seasons past. They all seem to be going fast now so unless Ducati really start blowing them away, I don't think the factory will be sending along too many new titanium and carbon fiber baubles to fool the riders into feeling faster. On top of that, I wouldn't be surprised if Tech 3 is doing well to build a wall up around 5th and 6th places they may get engine parts first to 'test' their reliability. You don't want someone in the hunt to take a DNF or be penalized for using an extra engine.

It is a lot smaller price to run than the factory bikes, reason why is that funding from factory is quite larger than satellite, given that factory has the engineers, satellites only have rider and managment, therefore, machines get updates and parts a lot faster, Edwards is probably the best test/rider there is to ask for, now with that in mind he didnt get his electronic updates til mid season last year, and the parts update wasnt there till almost the end, i believe there was 4 races to go before he saw those updates. Besides, thats the way it works with any motorsport, factory team pulls more than satellite.

IMO, the fact that he felt the need to make this professional statement at all says something. This is a direct challenge to #46, amounting to "I'm not going anywhere. Deal with it. (or get out.)"

It's also aimed at undermining Rossi's sway at Yam. How effective it will be seems unclear. Now, if he were to sign some sort of pre-contract letter of intent with Yamaha....
Let's assume that Ben does as well as most people think he will, and is in line for a promotion to the main team next year. From Yam's POV, would Lorenzo + Ben be sufficient compensation for losing Rossi?

Silly season may play out like a the 3-way stare-down in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Someone at Yam is going to wind up eating a bullet, leaving the other two to split the gold (team ride, obviously) between them. This statement is the equivalent of Lorenzo's hand slowly creeping toward his gun... :)

Love your spaghetti western metaphor.