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Jorge Lorenzo: “Valentino did not teach me a thing”

Remember the quaint stereotype of the wiley veteran taking the rookie under his arm and teaching him the ropes? Nothing of the sort happened when Jorge Lorenzo joined Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha factory MotoGP team in 2008. Quite the contrary, according to an interview given by Lorenzo to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Lorenzo indicates Rossi was anything but a mentor to him.  From the beginning, Rossi wanted to wall off the paddock and run a different tire.  According to Lorenzo, Rossi never once came to him and said “Jorge, this is how it’s done.”  Rather, Rossi actively tried to prevent Lorenzo from learning the ropes.

On one level, perhaps, you can’t blame Rossi.  Lorenzo started his rookie campaign with guns blazing . . . taking pole position and second place on the podium in his first race at Qatar in 2008.  The kid was blazing fast from the get-go.  How could the great Valentino Rossi be beaten by a rookie who just stepped off a 250?  Rossi must have felt threatened, and apparently he immediately took steps to maintain his dominance, both on the team and in the entire series.

To his credit, unlike many other rivals Lorenzo never let Rossi get into his head.  Lorenzo is fast, silky smooth, and also appears confident enough to ignore mind games.  Sounds like a lethal combination that will continue to be hard to beat.

51 Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Lorenzo needs more training. Doing the moon walk does not help his riding.

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  2. RC says:

    MotoGP racing is every man for himself, that is why is racing!! do you see any driver in Nascar or formula1 taking someone under their wing to “teach” them the art of racing, I don’t think so unless you are his/her son.

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  3. SupraStar says:

    Jorge owes his success to Rossi, for if it .

    No he didn’t teach you anything Jorge, but if it wasn’t for Rossi and the exceptional development work he pushed Yamaha to do on the M1, Jorge would be riding a POS motorcycle.

    Just ask Nicky how important having a Rossi developed motorcycle helped in his world title.

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  4. Al says:

    Why should Rossi – or anybody else – teach Lorenzo and “take him under his arm” – Lorenzo being former double world champion in the 250ccm class??? Are you kidding me? These are Moto GP pro riders, this is a big bucks business, and not some leisure & pleasure hobbiyst racers fun club.

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  5. ooj says:

    (Learning from being Rossi’s team mate and having to race him) and (Learning from Rossi’s mentoring) are two different things. The former taught him consistency and zero mistakes, and you see that in his results. The latter is what this article is about.
    The fact that Rossi built a wall shows how good Jorge is. Regardless of what all the Rossi fans say about Lorenzo’s talent, Rossi felt threatened. Who else erects a wall in their own garage?
    Rossi fans may be right that Jorge had a great bike from day 1 thanks to Rossi’s development. However the championship is won by winning races not developing bikes so who cares? Furisawa said that based on the win ratio between JL/VR over the prev 2 years, they predicted early on that Jorge would win more races in 2010.
    JL and Spies both admit they aren’t great development riders. They realize that in order to beat the GOAT, it is in their best interests to share data. The only thing that will erect a wall in their garage, is if they are both leading the championship by a healthy margin, and it is certain that they will finish 1/2 at the end of the year.

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  6. Mango says:

    Joreg Lorenzo is a sincere man.
    No talk besade the pont! I like him!
    Go Lorenzo

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  7. philip says:

    Mark, you’re absolutely right.. MotoGP.com article.. http://www.motogp.com/en/MotoGP+in+the+Media

    Lorenzo: “Rossi has been a teacher for me”
    Saturday, 26 June 2010

    The current MotoGP World Championship leader, as published in Spanish daily Sport, indicates that it is thanks to his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi that he is now close to the Italian’s level.

    “Valentino has been a teacher for me for the past two years. I have learned many things such as how important consistency is and how to overtake without making mistakes and I think that, little by little, I have come close to his level. I think we will soon see new duels,” he said.

    So what is this Italian interview about? Another one of those screwed up journalists stirring up sh*t to sell news? Slow news day?

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  8. Greg says:

    All I can say is “GO DANNY” ….. and for the person that said about Lorenzo not being arrogant, well, to see the footage of him deliberately stopping and pulling in front of Rossi when Rossi was doing practice starts makes it very obvious that Lorenzo is an A$$hole – Lorenzo did this TWICE that I saw and it was DELIBERATE …. That IS AGGOGANCE.

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  9. Peter says:

    Rossi tought Lorenzo how to follow.

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  10. Mark says:

    Uhhhhhhhh Jorge, are you on crack now that you have won some races????? This is straight out of your mouth and found on MotoGP.com’s website.

    Lorenzo: “Rossi has been a teacher for me”
    Saturday, 26 June 2010

    The current MotoGP World Championship leader, as published in Spanish daily Sport, indicates that it is thanks to his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi that he is now close to the Italian’s level.

    “Valentino has been a teacher for me for the past two years. I have learned many things such as how important consistency is and how to overtake without making mistakes and I think that, little by little, I have come close to his level. I think we will soon see new duels,” he said.

    If you doubt these words, click here and see for yourself http://www.motogp.com/en/MotoGP+in+the+Media

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  11. cyclox says:

    Just to echo a previous post noting that Jeremy Burgess and co. also moved from Honda to Yamaha with Rossi. I bet if you ask Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner (not to mention Freddie Spencer and Randy Mamola), they’ll give Burgess a huge share of the credit for their success.
    Rossi without Burgess? I doubt the Yamaha could have developed into the solid package that it is today.

    And to those who commented that Jorge’s antics are over-the-top (and arrogant), I wonder what those same people were saying during Rossi’s post-race antics a few years ago…

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  12. George Kontol says:

    If Lorenzo rides the same bike as supposedly “Rossi developed bike” why is he still faster than him most of the time hey?

    He is able to keep both wheels on the tarmac better too.

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  13. jimbo says:

    I’d so much appreciate someone explaining this: To what extent do the two Yamaha (and other brand) factory teams share? I suppose the only accurate reply could come from a Yamaha employee, but what is the reasonable consensus?

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  14. Tim says:

    The reality is, the guys on the MotoGP grid are the best in the world at what they do. They all have egos, and they all want the same prize. I don’t know why anyone thinks they would cooperate and help each other. This isn’t like bicycle racing, or even NASCAR. It is not a team sport where they use team mates to draft, and where teams punish riders who don’t ride in support of teammates. When Pedrosa almost cost Hayden the championship a few years ago, how did Honda punish him? They built the new bike to his specifications, and basically said “Screw you, Hayden, you learn to ride this tiny bike built for your team mate. You gave us a championship, but we owe you nothing.”

    Some guys are better at PR, and saying the right things than others, but when you come right down to it, it’s every man for himself.

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  15. philip says:

    How do we know that’s really true? And the fact Jorge is riding Rossi’s bike, that should be enough.. without that bike Jorge will not be in his position today. And on top of that, to say this now when Rossi’s down.. what a low life.

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  16. Mac-D says:

    I’m thinking maybe everyone is taking Jorge’s quote the wrong way. He may be in broken English simply stating that Vale never took him under his wing and gave him any tips on the bike or the way things work at the Moto GP level to make things any easier which is obviously true. If you ever listen to a post race interview of the international riders alot of what is said could be taken more than one way due to a lack of a mastery of the English language…

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  17. breganze99 says:

    Everyone has summed this up, but Lorenzo was riding a bike developed by Rossi and huge point here, Rossi was injured. Maybe after this kid has 9 (or wait, let’s just start with 2 or 3 championships) he will have earned the right to talk trash about a legend like Rossi. Hopefully next year, a fully healthy Rossi will dominate the field again and Lorenzo can take that as a lesson taught to him by Rossi.

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  18. Jimi says:

    Put Hor-hay on the Suzuki, and develop that into a winning bike. THEN I will agree he is as good as Rossi.

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  19. RBen says:

    Lorenzo has a lot going for him self BUT so dose Dani Pedrosa Andrea Dovizioso Casey Stoner Nicky Hayden Ben Spies Randy De Puniet Randy De Puniet. It takes a lot of talent to become a champion it another thing becoming a champion over and over like Valentino Rossi has done. Its going to be a hole new world when moto GP goes to 1000cc bikes. Thats when we all will see if Mr Lorenzo is as good has he seems to thank he is…LOL…..“Valentino did not teach me a thing”…WHAT AN ASS.

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  20. Trpldog says:

    It’s one thing to be confident and know what you are doing – quite another to be a big-headed prideful professional. It is refreshing when a someone who is obviously gifted isn’t a legend in his own mind.

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  21. Agent55 says:

    Another subtle jab at Rossi by MD. I’ve been visiting this site for a couple years now, I don’t think I’ve read a single positive story (or single sentence) regarding Vale by you guys. A good example would be, “Stoner puts in a dominating performance at last weekend’s GP, cementing himself as one of the greatest racers of all time” or something similarly short-sighted… And the next race report reads, “Rossi wins Italian Gran Prix”.

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    • Tim says:

      I’ve seen kind words for Rossi on this site, but I agree it doesn’t happen often.

      You would have thought Rossi couldn’t carry Stoner’s shoes, if you followed this site back in Stoner’s championship season. Never mind that Stoner’s bike was so much faster than the other bikes on the grid, that the season was pretty much a joke.

      I’m seeing similar speed domninance, suddenly, from Pedrosa’s Honda. Look for Stoner to challenge next year when he gets one of those Repsol jets.

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      • Agent55 says:

        agreed on Honda’s speed vs. the others now that the season’s closing down. we all should’ve seen it coming once the lean, 6-engine rule was put in place. they’re not called Honda MOTOR Company for nothing! it’s a pretty conservative company, maybe they’re comfortable with the wear rate at this point on the Pedrosa’s allocation and have cranked up the output? certainly part of the equation is that the guy weighs 105 pounds, but that RCV has got legs. 12 KPH faster than the Tech 3 bikes at the last round!

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  22. stratkat says:

    well you didnt need any help there hotshot, did ya? now shut up and go win, say, 9 world championships.

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  23. Gary says:

    “Silky smooth?” LOL! Yes, I’ve seen him fly very silkily over the highside!

    Seriously, though … we’ll see how Jorge reacts when he gets on in his career, and a young lion joins HIS team. Talking now is cheap. Will he be a supportive mentor, with tens of millions of dollars in prizes in endorsements at stake? Or will he fight, tooth and nail, to maintain his dominance?

    We will see. We will see.

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  24. Artem says:

    As for me, Lorenzo looks much like Jim Clark in F1 during 60s. He doesn’t loose the speed in turns, maintaining overal speed high. He is a talent.

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  25. burtg says:

    I agree wtih PeteP and jschmutz…Lorenzo inherited a fully developed winning bike. Rossi is the genius behind Jorge’s success with the bike. At the same time, Jorge is silky smooth and nasty fast. This kid can ride. I just can’t stand his cocky attitude. His championship this year needs and asterix: “*Won because Rossi broke his leg and his shoulder.” They were neck and neck before Rossi’s injuries. Jorge needs to show some respect.

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  26. Roberto says:

    “Valentino did not teach me a thing”…

    Directly, this may be true. Indirectly, Valentino probably taught Jorge many of life’s sad lessons. Only Valentino can get away with such snobbery and not have the fans and media turn on him. And this is coming from a Rossi fan.

    Lorenzo is an extremely gifted rider, regardless of electronics (they all have it, including Rossi). What irks me about him are his post-win shenanigans. They seem to be “in your face” type of celebrations. Rossi’s past celebrations seemed more heartfelt and sincere to me. I feel like Lorenzo is rubbing his success in Rossi’s face…I can’t say that Rossi doesn’t deserve it.

    For sure, the Yamaha has been developed well. But it still takes an extremely talented rider to beat Rossi on the same bike.

    BTW, after hearing about the bickering between Rossi & Stoner, was nice to see Rossi pass him for the podium spot!

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  27. jon risor says:

    “How could the great Valentino Rossi be beaten by a rookie who just stepped off a 250?”

    Um, Traction control, launch control, wheelie control and don’t forget boring control!!
    I want to see life (not 110lbs) size men hazing the rear tires out of the turns again….

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    • yaya says:

      You know in a way your right, each crop of pro riders physically look like that of tiny horse jokies. How uncool.

      In the end they are just the temporary pilot. The machine does the work and gets the refinement. The pilots personal job is to develope there egos of greatness for one good or lucky year of work on the big stage. That is racing culture… you need to have a personality that matches the machine you ride!, then be replaced lol ;). Few will have enduring careers and most names will be forgotten not long after they peak. So live it up while you can, try to make history if you can?, cause will I know your name in 5 years time?, but if I do remember you then you really were once great.

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  28. Martin says:

    I think, at some point in the future, Lorenzo will look back and realize that yes, he did learn some good lessons from Rossi.

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  29. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Remember, the first person you need to beat is your teammate: there IS no teamwork between teammates in MotoGP. Just talk to Hayden about “Repsol, its spanish for teamwork”

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  30. Rich says:

    Lorenzo has proven his worth from his first race in the top class. He took “Rossi’s bike” and put it on pole. And Rossi would have never been the rider he is without Jerry Burgess. Is Vale’ the GOAT? Perhaps. But to denigrate Jorge with comments such as “Perhaps…Lorenzo didn’t deserve one” is rather silly considering his debut pole and second place. The kid is incredibly talented. And Vale’ actions (the wall of separation) have betrayed an insecurity one would have never thought necessary.

    I guess we all have feet of clay.

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    • jschmutz says:

      Rich, what’s rather silly is to suggest that a rider’s talent is the sole criteria for earning a warm welcome from a team. You should read the MCN article because it is this publication, not I, that portrayed Lorenzo as an ass.

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  31. Yamasarus says:

    His teamate for next year is a great development rider as well. Let’s hope Ben teaches him a thing or two next year……Oh wait. Is he going to mentor Ben???

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  32. PeteP says:

    Well, Vale may not have taught him anything, but he gave Lorenzo a fully developed winning bike. Jorge di not have to develop anything.

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  33. jschmutz says:

    Read an interesting article today in the UK publication MCN. Talked about the same comments from Lorenzo, and reminded the reader that Lorenzo had the benefit of throwing a leg over a bike that Rossi had developed into a world champion machine. Should be interesting to see how Jorge welcomes Ben Spies to the paddock; my bet is there won’t be one. Perhaps the reason there was no warm welcome from Rossi is that Lorenzo didn’t deserve one. Go Spies!!

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