Jorge Lorenzo can cement his place among the greats by finally winning a world title

A rider making his MotoGP debut was last year’s rookie of the year and a rider who won every title in the preceding four seasons was never close to challenging for top honours. Yet…

Jorge Lorenzo can cement his place among the greats by finally winning a world title

A rider making his MotoGP debut was last year’s rookie of the year and a rider who won every title in the preceding four seasons was never close to challenging for top honours. Yet in 2016 Jorge Lorenzo was as close as anyone for the title and this year with Valentino Rossi holding off three more riders the Yamaha rider could again stand on the podium. Lorenzo won the title in Valencia in 2009 before changing team from Ducati to Yamaha, where he has now won three in a row. “I am delighted to win the world championship, but really happy for Valentino and for the team,” Lorenzo said. “We’ve had a long time of bad luck. Every time something went wrong – a fall, an accident, too many bike changes – but we fought so hard.” Lorenzo, 34, can still consider himself unlucky having started as the 100-1 underdog. With the sport now pushing the technological envelope in the MotoGP era he just needs another competitive year with Yamaha to give him the competitive edge to get a fourth title.

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Backstage ahead of Sunday’s race at the Valencia circuit “I believe in myself because I’ve worked so hard since the moment I arrived,” Lorenzo said. “I believe in the machine on which we built. Today we are fighting for the title and this dream is coming true.” Having won his first world title in 2010 Lorenzo then made history as the first rider to hold all four of the main championships with Ducati, but by 2015 the MCE Bank series had replaced the Italian sportscar manufacturer. In that season Casey Stoner and Alvaro Bautista made it a race to the finish for the title in Barcelona. The Australian won in the final race, by a slender margin of nine points, but Lorenzo finished third and it was enough to clinch him the title. As Rossi prepares to renew his rivalry with Lorenzo, he says both riders can rely on him for advice in the closing stages in the fight for the title. “I have a good relationship with my riders,” Rossi said. “We can talk every day. I always try to help. The last race we split up [in Barcelona], but we speak every day. I know I should help [Lorenzo], he’s a champion and we have to fight for the title.” In 2015 Stoner won his third consecutive MotoGP world title before retiring in late 2016. Lorenzo’s first victory in the number one Ducati was in Malaysia last November. Lorenzo, who almost left Ducati in the 2015 off-season and was strongly linked with a switch to Honda, has won nine races for the Italian manufacturer in MotoGP and 10 for Ducati in the overall standings.

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