Tuesday February 26, 2013
Lorenzo foresees a tough season this year
By S. Ramaguru
SEPANG: They were born and raised worlds apart. But their passion, drive, ambition in motor-racing binds them as friends. And, of course, they share a similar love for Barcelona FC.
MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo and Malaysia’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin met up at the Sama Sama Hotel here on Sunday and their brief chat centred on their pre-season testing. Zulfahmi returned to Malaysia after a test session in Spain and decided to take a short break before the season gets under way in Qatar next month.
Lorenzo, on the other hand, is here with his Yamaha factory team for testing at the SIC Circuit for the second time this year.
Lorenzo will be gunning for his third world MotoGP title, having also won it in 2010. He has also won the 250cc world title twice in 2006 and 2007.
For Zulfahmi, this will be his fourth year as a full-fledged rider on the circuit but he’ll race in Moto3 for KTM Red Bull Ajo.
Lorenzo expects the new season to be tougher as there are two or three potential title winners.
For him, the challenge will be greater now that former champion Valentino Rossi has joined his team.
“Yes, Rossi is with my team now and that’s a great challenge ... to learn and race with him as a team-mate. Of course, we are friends but not on the track. Every rider wants to win and we are no different.
“Dani Pedrosa is also in the mix for the title along with his new team-mate Marc Marquez. I’m sure they’ll be coming with improved bikes as well. I believe it’ll be close affair The important thing is to ensure your own bike is in good shape for the challenge and win the races as you go,” he said.
Zulfahmi, however, has a different challenge on his hands. He’s looking for his first ever win at the circuit.
Last year, it was a revelation to the Malaysian as he managed to get on the podium twice.
“So that’s our target. To get on the podium and to win one of the races. No Malaysians has won a GP race and I believe that with the improved bike this year, I can do it. I have the confidence and the main thing is to ensure that I take part in all races and stay competitive,’ he added.
Zulfahmi can take heart that Lorenzo also worked his way up the ranks before becoming a world champion. The Spaniard started off in the 125cc class (now the Moto3).
He raced from 2002 to 2004 in the lower class and won four times on the circuit. But there was no world title to go with it.
Then, in 2005, he moved up to the 250cc class and became the world champion in 2006 and retained it in 2007. In 2008, he switched to MotoGP and has already bagged the world title twice.
“So for me there’s really nothing else to achieve other than to keep up the winning run. I do not see record-breaking as a target to achieve. But winning matters and as long as I can do it then I’ll aim to remain a champion,” said the 25-year-old Lorenzo.
So, it’ll be interesting to see how the two measure up this year – with the different challenges facing them.