Jorge Lorenzo has suddenly become the overwhelming favorite for the 2010 MotoGP title after his Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi broke his leg at Mugello.
As Lorenzo prepared for this weekend's British Grand Prix, Lorenzo offered his thoughts about Rossi's absence, how that affects the championship, and the impact it had on his Mugello performance.
Q. Do you think the fact that you were beating Valentino this year had an effect on him and maybe played a part in his crash?
Jorge Lorenzo: I don't know what was happening his mind. Maybe he had some pressure at Mugello, because it is his home GP. Maybe he was thinking he must win there, I don't know.
He has lost a championship against [Nicky] Hayden, but the championship was very strange and in the end he crashed in the last race. When he lost with Casey [Stoner], Casey had a better bike and better tires. The situation this year was a little different because he has a partner with the same bike and he lost two races.
It was not so much, because we were only in the third race and there were still 15 races more. But for him to lose two races in a row, maybe he had extra pressure. I can't say this is why he crashed, because I don't know.
Q. If you win the championship this year, will it mean less without Valentino on track to beat?
JL: I want to be World Champion with Valentino on track. If I could put all the legends in the history of motorcycling on track with me, I would for sure.
To have been in front of him before his crash, it doesn't matter that you were going to beat him at the end of the championship. It is still winning without Valentino. For me, at least before his crash I was at the front of the championship. Now we don't know what was going to happen if he didn't have his crash. He will return and have another opportunity to fight for the championship in 2011.
It's a pity for everyone that Valentino is not here – he is a champion. Winning a championship is always a great feeling, but without Valentino it has lost a little bit of its value.
Q. Does his absence put extra pressure and expectation on you from Yamaha to go on and win the title as the favorite now?
JL: It depends on your mind. You can feel extra pressure, or even fear. But I will try not to have these thoughts.
Maybe at Mugello, yes. I was a little bit confused and I didn't have time to change my mind. When he crashed, the championship changed a lot for me. With some hours from to his crash to the race, it was difficult to not think too much about this [pressure], and I didn't race like I normally do.
Now I will try to have positive thoughts, to just keep improving my riding style, scoring as many points as I can and doing the best job.
Q. If Valentino's absence means you can ride at 90 percent and still win races, will you be able to take fewer risks?
JL: In this championship we have the best riders in the world. If you don't ride at 100 percent, it is very difficult to win. I will always try to do the maximum.
Q. What are your thoughts on the new Silverstone circuit, which will be new to everyone?
JL: It seems by looking at the map the circuit is quite fast, apart from the modified section. The other part is so fast. The straights are long, it looks like many third or fourth gear corners. I think it is good for my style. People say it is very beautiful and flat, I'm excited to go there and have some laps.
Normally I make a lot of laps in practice, maybe this doesn't help my physical condition for Sunday because I get more tired than the other riders, but this is my style – to be on tracks always trying to get faster and faster, so maybe this will help me in these conditions.