“I crashed because I didn’t have electronics. Was not a very comfortable experience,” Lorenzo said. “So maybe it happened because I didn’t know it wasn’t electronics. Maybe if I knew it, maybe I open the throttle in a different way. But for sure without the electronics we will see much more crashes than we see now, because in 250 category, there was a lot of high-sides, but the bikes were only 100 horsepower, no? Now we have 250 horsepower. Imagine what can happen without electronics. Maybe an (intermediate solution) would be the best thing. But even with (an intermediate solution) we will see more crashes than now. So I would say (an intermediate solution) is the best option.
“Without the traction control, 260 horsepower is a crazy thing. Maybe Kenny would like to try my bike with traction control. Maybe he will change his opinion. One thing is anti-wheelie, maybe we will change. Would be better to take away. Anti-wheelie’s not a problem. Traction control to take completely would be dangerous.”
Earlier in the season, Lorenzo thought he needed more power. “Now we are quite good,” he says. “In acceleration and on top speed we don’t lose so much compared to the Hondas. We are quite well. Maybe we need a little bit more traction in some tracks. But about the speed, about the acceleration we are OK this year. Last year was so much difference.”
The difference now is between the CRT machines and the prototypes. Lorenzo’s solution would be for the factories to lease the current prototypes to satellite teams next year, a proposal that’s on the drawing board. The deciding factor will be the lease price. Lorenzo believes it should be in the area of 1-1.5 million euros. “Three and a half million,” the lease price for an 800, “is too much. I think from one year to another it doesn’t change so much and it will be much better for the show. We will have much more bikes and we won’t need the CRT.”
Others have said the CRTs are dangerous because of the difference in closing speeds. “Yeah, in the straight is unbelievable. Too much difference. Maybe 25 kph (16 mph).”
The difference among the prototypes is much less. Pedrosa and Lorenzo tied for top speed honors in qualifying at IMS with a trap speed of 208.480 mph. There was a chance earlier this season after Stoner announced his retirement that the two Spaniards might have been teammates. It wasn’t the first time Lorenzo had been courted by Honda. Or Ducati.
“Yeah, I have the opportunity for riding both bikes in 2009,” he said, at the end of the season when Stoner missed a few races with lactose intolerance. “To be honest, I was closer to be in Ducati. For some days I imagined me looking red, but I think I made the right choice to stay in Yamaha. It wasn’t the right moment to change. Still I didn’t become world champion. Yamaha was my better option to be world champion.” Lorenzo won the title the next year.
Now he’s being asked about his teammate for the next two years, Valentino Rossi. Both riders have said all the right things, but others aren’t so sure. The exit of Yamaha’s Ben Spies is making room for Rossi. Said Spies with a smile, “I think it’s going to be a big fight, for sure. As much as they say that it’s going to be OK, they both don’t get along.” Spies doesn’t draw the sort of heat that Rossi does. Lorenzo claims he’s prepared.
“Well, maybe Valentino is more like a rock star, no?” Lorenzo said. “Ben is more quiet, he’s more shy. He’s a different character. So of course Ben’s year has been not very good, so both parts needed to change. Also Ducati with Valentino’s year has been not good, so they had to change.”
When Rossi switched to Bridgestone tires in 2008, and Lorenzo was on Michelins, a wall went up in the garage to preserve tire secrecy. But the following year when Bridgestone became the control tire, the wall stayed up, though not at Lorenzo’s insistence.
“I think the situation is a little bit different than it was in 2008, 2009,” Lorenzo said. “And now Valentino is not the first rider in the championship, also maybe in the team he admits that he couldn’t go fast with the Ducati, so he must reach to the Yamaha. Is a different situation, but anyway for me has been not any problem, never to be partners with any riders. So it’s fun, it’s fun to be with him. It’s interesting. We are going to have fun.” sr
Without the traction control, 260 horsepower is a crazy thing. Maybe Kenny would like to try my bike with traction control. Maybe he will change his opinion.
Wayne Rainey is Yamaha’s unofficial ambassador to the MotoGP class. Until Valentino Rossi won the 2004 MotoGP World Championship for Yamaha, the company hadn’t won a title since Rainey won the last of his three crowns in 1992.
Rainey hosts an annual party prior to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix which a number of riders attend. This year Lorenzo was there along with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso. Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin and Josh Hayes also attended, as did Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha’s Tommy Hayden. Ben Spies, who’d announced his departure from Yamaha days earlier, was notably absent.
Here, then, a few of Rainey’s thoughts.
He’s an interesting rider. I have a lot of time for Jorge. He’s just, in all aspects of sport he takes part in he’s curious. Guys like that, I think they’re the guys always trying to improve and look around and ask questions. Kinda reminds me of myself a lot. I would look at other sports, guys succeed in other sports, whether it’s bike racing, tennis, auto racing, other stuff, you read about and something in that article gets you thinking in certain ways you hadn’t thought of before. Curiosity, I think. They’re never satisfied. You always think you can improve. You never know where that can come from. I think he thinks like that.
On the need for electronics:
They’re getting there so quick now because the bikes…they have these aids that help them get to velocity at the end of the straight. Maybe before if you didn’t have the technical aids you wouldn’t have the acceleration, the speed that you have right now. You’re always kinda battling the bike trying to lay power down without spinning or wheelying; now they have help there. I don’t believe you need traction control. You would ride them differently than what you’re riding them now. Using the power of the bike to get it to turn. Where now you use the lean angle to get it to turn. At maximum lean angle with help from the electronics and every millimeter you pick the bike up the electronics are adjusting. Where if there were no electronics, you would be using the power to adjust. I don’t think it’d be too much, not at all. I think you could take electronics off and just the characteristics of the four-strokes, the torque range is so long and it’s more of a flat torque that that’s much more easier to work with. Like riding a 250 two-stroke motocross bike compared to a 250 four-stroke. I think they would have a wonderful time riding without the electronics.
On how to limit the electronics:
There could be rev limits, things like that, ECU or something that everybody has. It’s kind of like they do in F1 and that’s what the engine can rev to and they can adjust to. They would have to work with the power, get it to work harder, sooner because of less revs. I think it’d be a better show. I think the bikes are so sophisticated, such awesome weapons, it’s just, it’s all artificial. It’s not really reality. If you have a glitch in your software the thing might not even start. We saw that when Lorenzo was qualifying at Mugello. Bike thought it was somewhere else.