Jorge Lorenzo has a simple game plan for this Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi: Win the race and take the MotoGP World Championship to a title decider at the final round in Valencia, Spain in two weeks.
A month ago, Lorenzo never imagined he would have this opportunity, having declared his title chances “virtually impossible.”
Yamaha’s defending champion has been gifted this opportunity because of an embarrassing error by Marc Marquez’s Repsol Honda team in last Sunday’s Australian GP.
Lorenzo’s dramatic win at Phillip Island, with Marquez black-flagged because he exceeded the strict 10-lap limit for a tire pit stop, has cut Marquez’s lead to just 18 points.
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi believes this has added to the pressure for Marquez, 20, to become the world’s youngest ever winner of the MotoGP title.
“This year Jorge has done a fantastic job and he has never given up and now he is close. He is in good shape,” Rossi said.
“For Marquez the situation is more complicated and there is more pressure, but Marc has demonstrated his potential this year, so it will be funny.
“It is normal that Jorge said that before Phillip Island his chances were close to impossible. I would have said the same.
“But in motorcycle racing anything can happen, and now we have two races for the championship.”
Marquez (298 points) and Lorenzo (280 points) have both won six races so far this season. Even if Marquez had cruised to a safe second-place finish in Australia, without the horrible lap miscalculation, he would have been sitting pretty for the title in Japan.
But now Lorenzo has it all to play for even if the stop-start Motegi Circuit, owned by Honda, should favor the RC213V ridden by Marquez.
“Now the championship has changed so much,” Lorenzo said.
“Before Phillip Island I didn’t have many options. My chances were maybe two percent. Now they have increased to 30 percent.
“With the mistake in Australia, it would have been possible for Marc to finish second or even first in that race, which would have made it close to impossible for me.”
“I have to try and win in both Motegi and Valencia and then see what can happen.
“There are a lot of laps left in both races and anything can happen. I have to push every lap to the limit and go fast. That’s the only thing I can do.”Japan GP, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, MotoGP