Honda wanted to raise a wall around Jorge Lorenzo. After the inaugural press conference on Thursday in front of the cameras, all riders then stopped to talk to to the press in their own language.
Usually, no one, except in rare cases, dodges the interviews. However, today at Silverstone, Honda decided to send Marquez to the front line for the first interviews and led Jorge through the back door.
"We don't want to throw him to the press. It's our duty to protect him, even if and when he makes mistakes, " a team spokesman explained. One could argue that the press is not a bunch of bloodthirsty snipers, but simply professionals who want to tell things through the voice of the leading star of the moment.
All the more so when, in the past few months, Lorenzo has been at the center of the media's attention. "You talk about me more when I'm not here than when I am," he told us yesterday, greeting us at the airport. He was right because Jorge was on everyone's mind since July. First the rumor of his retiring (which he has not denied), then of contacts with Ducati (which he preferred to ignore). Today, however, we have to settle for just a few statements.
His possible return to Ducati was what everyone was talking about just before mid-August.
"It's true. There have been many rumors about it, but I wasn't there, and I didn't say anything because I knew I had a two-year contract with Honda," he explained. "Then these rumors increased, and so I decided to call Alberto Puig to specify that I was completely focused on the project with Honda."
The Latins would say excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta - "he who excuses himself, accuses himself" - but you can't judge someone in advance. Even though Lorenzo did not stop contacting Borgo Panigale and, when directly asked, he replied: "I'm here to talk about the future, not the past."
Mincing words does not help to clarify the situation, and even the rumors on his retirement were brought on by his own statements.
"I can only say that I'm a human being, and I had to face two big falls, especially the one at Assen, which was a consequence of the previous one in Barcelona," he recalled. "I had never hurt my back, and I started to have doubts about my life and my career. It's absolutely normal, but as soon as I felt better, those doubts started to disappear. I have once again convinced myself to face the challenge with Honda and to win in the MotoGP with three different bikes. Nobody has ever done this. So I called Puig to tell him."
Lorenzo had to get his ideas straight and figure out if he still had the desire and motivation to continue. His response was affirmative. But he went through a difficult time, perhaps the most complicated of his career.
"I had never been away so long from the races. I'm happy to be back.
The first two weeks after the injury were really difficult because recovery was very slow, but then things sped up," he said. "I was able to start training in the pool. I felt pain but less as I went on. This is the right time to come back because when you stop for too long you lose speed."
Which does not mean the road that Jorge must take has come to an end.
"It takes three months for an injury like mine to heal completely, and two months have passed," he explained. "The edema on my vertebra is still there. I still feel pain, but I can try to ride. I won't be able to fight for a victory, for the podium, and not even to be in the top 5. I just have to find my pace."
...and also that trust with Honda that only slightly faltered sometimes.
"Surely, this injury did not help me to adapt," he admitted. "I'll have to almost start from scratch but, with a bit of patience, I'm sure the results will come."
Lorenzo doesn't want to give up, and he emphasized how he'll also continue in 2020.
"Why shouldn't I? I have a signed contract. I want to achieve the same results with this bike as I have with all the others."
Tomorrow he'll put on his helmet and, maybe, in the roar of the Honda, he'll find the silence that he missed during these months.