Q & A with Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo
Q. Jorge, can you tell us about your feelings and emotions the very first time you rode Yamaha's MotoGP bike?
Jorge Lorenzo: My very first impression when I rode the M1 for the first time was...pride and honor! I was already proud to be a part of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team at just 20 years old, and then when I eventually rode the bike I told myself: "This is the start. Now it is up to me!"
I was quite emotional but curious at the same time to see what it was like to ride such a powerful bike. I think it is the dream for all those who do this job and it made me realize how few people have the possibility to experience such emotions; I felt lucky to be there.
A few seconds later however, I also realized that I deserved that bike, that I had earned it through all the great efforts I had made during my career. I would like to take this occasion to thank Yamaha for giving me this possibility and to tell everyone at Yamaha that I will repay them for this opportunity.
Q. How has the winter testing program been for you? Have you enjoyed yourself and have you made as much, or more progress than you expected?
JL: The Winter test program started well and finished better. After the first few days I spent riding the M1 I started to feel more and more comfortable with it, and it started to feel more normal for me. I think I have improved quite a lot since the first test and I am sure that sooner or later we will be able to go very fast.
I do not know when, because I am still getting accustomed to the MotoGP bike, but I am sure we will do a great job, in the end. Right from the start I found I was enjoying myself a lot with the M1, above all when I was able to do a wheelie on the straight for almost 1km!
Perhaps I expected to be a little bit faster at the beginning of my winter testing program, but actually, after the start, I did not expect to improve my overall performance as much as I did after such a short period of training. I was quite fast in Jerez especially, so we can say that between the very first test and the last test of the year I improved by one second! Not so bad at all!
Q. What do you think about your new team and your new teammate, Valentino Rossi?
JL: The thing that surprised me more was the familiar environment in the garage. I did not expect the Team to be so familiar, friendly and... "caliente!" Despite the warm welcome, however, I also found the garage to be completely professional. I think I am now in the best team of the world.
The environment is perfect; the engineers work so hard, the bike… the mechanics… the food! Everything is perfect! And although I come from a very professional team, of course in MotoGP everything is even better than the world I have come from.
Valentino... what can I say about him? Valentino is the most complete athlete this world has the honor to have. He has everything; he is the best in braking, in the straight, going in the corner, in the pace... he opens the throttle before everybody, he makes shows in and out of the tracks... he is perfect! It will be very difficult to get to his level, but of course I will do my best to try!
Q. What have you found hardest about the adapting to a MotoGP bike, and what have you found easiest?
JL: The hardest thing to adapt to was the braking, especially the hard braking. Although I have already improved a lot, actually I think I can do even better than I am doing now, it is just a matter of time and testing!
The power delivery and the throttle management is not so difficult, so let's say that my style matches with this bike quite well, but I really need to work hard on the braking, because there you can really make the difference.
Anyway, my improvements since the very first time I rode the M1 are quite clear, so it means that I have been going to the right direction to "understand" the bike. Thanks to my Team, who have always helped me a lot. During first few races it will be necessary to fine-tune my riding style and to fix some things I still need to make perfect.
Q. How have you found your new Michelin tires?
JL: MotoGP bikes are more powerful than the 250s, so it is normal that you expect more grip from your tires. Since the very first test I understood that I could "trust" my tires completely, more than I was able to do with the 250.
Michelin tires are not 'wicked', they always help you and they do not have unexpected reactions, so it was positive for me because I immediately understood I could attempt and take many more risks. I am sure Michelin want to come back to the top of the standing and I know they have made a great effort and job during the Winter, so I am quite confident that this year there will be no difference between Michelin and their competitors.
Q. What is your greatest memory from your racing career?
JL: It is quite funny, because the very best memory I have of my entire career, despite what you might think, is the moment I signed with Yamaha. Of course, there is my first world title: I remember one million of feelings, but I cannot tell you even one in detail… The other memory on the "podium" is my 2007 title. I think these are the memories I will take with me until the end of my entire career, as well as the memories I would like to remember for all of my life.
Q. What's your favorite race track and which is your favorite country to race in?
JL: My favorite track is definitely Assen! I have there won three times and it is also the track that suits my riding style the best. Last, but not least, that circuit is really beautiful! No need to say that the country I love to race in is "my" Spain!
Among the Spanish tracks my favorite one is Jerez, because I love to ride there, but Barcelona and Valencia as well are my home tracks and I cannot even think of a championship without those three races. Every time I have ridden on a Spanish track has been an unforgettable event for me! It is like being in the middle of an arena and I can always feel the warmth of every single fan that is there. There is nothing like riding in Spain for me!
Q. How do you like to spend your spare time when you're not racing? What kinds of hobbies and sports do you like?
JL: When I am not riding I like to play videogames, listen to music, surf on the internet and stay with my friends. This is what I normally do when I am at home. Football was one of my passions, but now I have no time to follow matches like I used to do in the past.
I am a fan of "Barça", anyway, and sometimes I like to watch their matches on TV, when I am not at a GP. Since I have many Italians in my team, I want to say that I am also a fan of Inter Milan. Finally, together with football, I like to play tennis sometimes, which is also useful to keep in shape.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your training regime?
JL: My training regime is very strict, but fortunately I like to work at the gym and I like to be in perfect shape. Normally I train for four hours a day, every day. My daily program consists of cardiovascular training, stretching, bending, abdominals and some weights. I have a personal trainer who travels with me and the hard work is repaying me a lot... isn't it?!
Q. What do you think about having the first night race in Qatar?
JL: I think it is a very interesting initiative, very unusual and I am really excited to be there and curious to see what it will be like to ride in the night. I am thinking of the fans that will be there and also of the many people who will watch the race on TV; it will be exciting! The only concern is that on that day, in Spain, there will be a very important political vote, so I hope that this will not affect the quantity of Spanish fans in front of the TV! Anyway, I think it will be great for "todo el mundo!"
Q. What is your aim for this season? Winning a race? Podiums?
JL: Generally speaking I think that the most important thing is to achieve your goals. 'When' you do that, is less important. Normally people want to 'arrive' immediately, but the most important thing is to arrive at your goals in good health. I do not know whether I will achieve my goals in one or in two years. The only one thing I am sure about is that I will be there, sooner or later, in front of all the others. Fiat Yamaha PR