Jorge Lorenzo says he would not regard missing out on the 2010 MotoGP title as a failure because he believes this is a halcyon time for talent in the championship.
The Yamaha rider fought with teammate Valentino Rossi for this year's title and is expected to mount an even stronger challenge next year. But Lorenzo said he felt no shame in finishing second to Rossi in 2009, and did not assume that he would be able to go one better next season.
"I can be nothing but satisfied with my second place in the championship," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It will be difficult in 2010 because [Casey] Stoner has returned stronger than ever, [Dani] Pedrosa may have a more competitive Honda, and Valentino is always there – he will be 31, that's true, but he isn't old at all. I want to be there with them.
"Many perhaps expect me to win the title [in 2010], but what happens if I don't? This is an extremely difficult series, and on top of that it's a time of great riders. Second place is already a fine result. Look at Pedrosa: he's been in MotoGP for four years, but he still hasn't triumphed. To do that, you need to have every aspect sorted out."
Rossi and Lorenzo will continue as Yamaha teammates in 2010, but Rossi reckons the team will ultimately need to choose between them as he does not think giving two title rivals equal status is a sustainable situation. The Italian has hinted that he could jump ship for Ducati if Yamaha insists on keeping Lorenzo. But Lorenzo said he was not bothered by Rossi's stance and agreed with his business manager Marcus Hirsch's insistence that the rider lineup was solely Yamaha's choice.
"I always agree with [Hirsch] and he is right when he says that it's not up to Valentino to decide the riders for 2011," said Lorenzo. "That choice is up to Yamaha. We are just employees."
He also thinks the dividing wall in the Yamaha garage – originally created when Rossi and Lorenzo were using different tire suppliers in 2008 but retained this season as well – is irrelevant.
"In my opinion it changes nothing," Lorenzo said. "We are two very strong riders mentally, with firm ideas, and it would be the same without the wall."