Valentino and Lorenzo have been best enemies for a long time, sharing the Yamaha garage and writing an important chapter of MotoGP history. Not an easy relationship, with the walls and squabbles, but the results prove that they were in fact the last real 'dream team' in the reigning class. On the day in which Jorge confirms his retirement from racing, Rossi looks back at their relationship with a mix of nostaglia and irony.
“We've spent so many good and bad times together, our relationship's seen a lot of highs and lows - he smiles - The lows include 2015, but there were many highs too, battling together. He was a great team-mate and always kept me motivated”.
Yet the Doctor did not attend today's press conference.
“I'd heard about the press conference but I was busy elsewhere and I didn't expect other riders to go. I don't know if there was an invite, I knew nothing, but I'll have chance to see Lorenzo and talk to him”.
Lorenzo's decision doesn't come as a surprise to Rossi.
“Not really - he confirms - Because Yamaha asked Zarco to become test rider and he said no due to an agreement with Honda. I put two and two together and presumed Jorge would struggle to continue and that Honda was already thinking about a replacement. It's a real shame, we're losing a great rider, one of the strongest guys, but that's racing. It's tough, you have to be motivated, have the desire, but mainly you have to enjoy racing, if not life becomes difficult. These are very personal decision, each of us has his own natural clock”.
Yamaha now finds itself without a test rider, while Jorge is theoretically available. Is it another case of putting two and two together? Things are more complicated in this case though.
“Having Lorenzo as tester? If only! - responds an enthusiastic Rossi - I have to tell the truth, if Lorenzo got back on the M1, he'd be fast, he'd really help as test rider”.
The idea is an appealing one.
“I'll have a word with him - smiles Valentino - The problem is that Jorge would want a lot of money and with Yamaha it's hard to get. I'd really like to have him as test rider, he's very fast and could help us”.