There are just ten days to go until battle commences. Expectations are running high ahead of the 2017 season, a year of new things: Iannone in Suzuki, Vinales in Yamaha and Lorenzo in Ducati. The Spanish rider rewound the tape, referring back to his previous Yamaha experience. In an interview for Marca, #99 spoke about his relationship with Rossi: “Yamaha had a rider who is a motorcycling icon, who receives a lot of media attention and has sold many bikes – said the Majorcan - not an easy situation to manage when we were both fighting for the title".
Lorenzo explains further: "It was difficult to receive the same treatment as Valentino - he continues - I realised that they had to take care of their diamond, in terms of sales. Despite him not having won for several years, Rossi is still strong in terms of media coverage and continues to have a significant effect on Yamaha bike sales”. His message almost sounds like a warning for Vinales: “It's difficult for two riders to be treated the same ways when it comes to extreme situations, comparisons and negative sensations in the fight for the title and in this sense I always said I understood that”.
As well as having to live with the nine-time champion, Lorenzo also refers to Maio Meregalli, who in the past has said that there is a calmer atmosphere in the Yamaha camp now that the Majorcan has moved on: “I don't think it was a very appropriate statement - says #99 - he was very much on Rossi's side, and when I left he came out with that statement".
Now he needs to focus on the present thgou, as the championship gets underway next week. The Ducati rider has clear ideas: “To win more races than last year, at some tracks we can do very well – he promises - but in order to have a competitive bike at every track and fight for the title, we need to work on various aspects, unless our rivals make a lot of mistakes”.
In the exclusive interview with Marca, Lorenzo then touches on what pushed him to move to the red bike: "My motivation was the fact that very few riders have won with two different bike, the only to do so with the Ducati was Stoner". That's not all: “I also wanted to feel alive, to try a different kind of bike, and work with different people in a different environment with new colours”. It's impossible not to consider the win: “It would be fantastic, but very difficult. But then I love difficult things".