He was the only one of the fantastic four to visit EICMA. This Tuesday at the Milan Rho exhibition centre, everyone was waiting for Jorge Lorenzo, who was a guest at the Shark stand in the morning to meet the many fans. If the Majorcan had to deal with visor fogging problems last year, this year the tyres proved to be the real trouble in the wet.
“For Michelin it was all new after being away from the races for so long. I think it was a more difficult season for them than they expected. Without a doubt, the many changes had an impact, but in 2017 that will not be the case, so I expect competitive tyres on every track.”
Stoner said that Marquez will be his favourite for 2017. Is that how it will be?
“It is normal that he would say that. The World Champion is always the favourite, so it is only right that it would be him and I agree with Casey’s point of view.”
How shocked are you that you lost second place.
“I am very disappointed, especially because of the mistakes I made. Marc did not have a winning bike, but he was good at being consistent, riding an incredible championship. As for speed, I could have finished second. There were a lot of mistakes, definitely a few more than Valentino made. I would be more shocked if I hadn’t managed to win the championship last year.”
Almost all the riders signed contracts very early. Do you think that this aspect might have influenced the way Yamaha treated you?
“On a technical level, I believe I had the same chances as Rossi as it was in the past. I do not think there were differences.”
Dall’Igna said that Ducati will be a Championship contender.
“For the moment it is difficult to say. No one knows how competitive the GP17 will be.”
Will you be as excited on Tuesday as you were in 2008 when you made your début on the Yamaha?
“They are two different types of excitement. Of course, if I am as motivated as I was in 2008, it means that it is for a very important reason that conveys something very strong.”
Brivio said that Viñales will be the new Lorenzo for Rossi.
“Maverick has all the qualities to become World Champion. However, at the moment Marquez is the future. He is an ace.”
At the Yamaha Premier Rossi stated that he would like to race forever.
“It would be great, even when you are 80 you can still ride (he jokes), but what counts is speed. Great credit to Rossi for battling at his age of 37. My hat’s off to Vale.”
If you could go back, which races would you change?
“Argentina and Japan. I prefer to look forward and not think about the past.”