Jorge Lorenzo has dismissed claims that his form slump is because he is not relaxed and enjoying his riding, especially in the shadow of record-breaking fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez.
After finishing a lackluster sixth in Sunday’s French GP, both Marquez and seven-time champion Valentino Rossi reckoned that a lack of enjoyment and too much importance on winning were key issues.
Not surprisingly Lorenzo disagreed.
Marquez’s five race winning streak continues to place Lorenzo under intense scrutiny, as he was the rider expected to make it an all-Spanish battle for the championship.
Lorenzo admits his racing is currently sub-par and knows why, but does not appreciate the observations on his riding enjoyment and relaxation levels.
“No, I don’t think this is an issue,” Lorenzo said. ”From the second race (Texas) I knew the championship was almost impossible so I don’t think about winning.
“When the situation is bad it is very easy for people to criticize and for everyone to have an opinion. So let’s wait for better times.”
Lorenzo won eight races in an injury-riddled 2013 championship while Marquez’s six wins and consistency delivered him the world title.
“For me the key is, if you want to be fast, you need to enjoy being on the bike,” said Marquez after winning his fifth straight race in France.
“Valentino (Rossi) is enjoying riding and he is in a great moment, when you enjoy you are faster.
“I don’t know why Jorge is struggling but I think he will find a way and when he starts enjoying being on the bike again he will be competitive.”
Rossi was again the top Yamaha rider at Le Mans with his third second-place podium of the season, finishing 5.5 seconds ahead of Lorenzo.
Rossi feels that his career status, at 35 and an undisputed superstar, makes him immune from expectations, such as the ones confronting Lorenzo.
“For me to be on the podium and stay behind Marc is acceptable, I know I can fight with him and am more relaxed,” Rossi said.
“Jorge is different because he wants to win. Last year, Jorge did some races that were impressive, the best of his career, but this year Marc is riding great and the Honda is a little better than the Yamaha.
“This is frustrating and Jorge knows at the moment it is impossible to win and so he is not happy. ”
Lorenzo’s counters that his issues with too much wheelspin with Bridgestone’s 2014 spec tire construction are central to his form slump.
And he openly admitted he ‘did not ride well’ at Le Mans after a sluggish qualifying and wrong setup direction for the race.
“In the past couple of years I always start on the front row and concentrate very well but when you start sixth it is not the same, I struggle to be smooth,” Lorenzo said.
“To try to gain some acceleration we put more weight to the rear of the bike, but I lost a lot of confidence in the front-end plus I still have too much wheelspin with the rear tire.”Jorge Lorenzo, Le Mans, MotoGP, Yamaha Factory Racing