Titans clash in San Marino

Titans clash in San Marino

MISANO, San Marino- Agence France-Presse
Titans clash in San Marino

Yamaha’s Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo has little room for error now that he saw his comfortable 23-point advantage over Dani Pedrosa cut to 13 points. AP photo

Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo is determined to reassert his world championship authority this weekend after a summer spent seeing his lead eaten away by in-form Honda rival, and fellow Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa.

Three races ago, Lorenzo had a 23-point lead at the top of the standings but Pedrosa’s successive wins at Indianapolis and then a last-corner triumph at Brno have cut his advantage to 13 points.

Lorenzo will be buoyed, however, by having won with a dominant performance at the San Marino track 12 months ago while Pedrosa admits that the Misano circuit is not one of Honda’s favorites.
“This year we’ve been very consistent, always in the first two positions. The last three races we couldn’t win, but were very close,” said Lorenzo.

“Now we arrive at this track, which for us has been pretty good for the last four years I think. I was in second the first three years, and last year I could finally get the victory.” Pedrosa knows that the San Marino circuit will provide Honda with a different challenge to recent races.

“Misano is a tricky track, quite bumpy, with a lot of braking and acceleration. The grip level is always a challenge, because it changes a lot from the morning sessions to the afternoon,” said Pedrosa.

“In the past, our bike has been quite unstable there but I believe this year we have improved that. I hope the work we have done in the Brno and Aragon tests with suspension and electronics can help us to start the weekend strong in Misano.” Pedrosa, the winner on this track in 2010, will have a new teammate with Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea, who currently races in the World Superbike Championship, replacing world champion Casey Stoner, who is recovering from surgery on his broken ankle.

Rea won in San Marino in Superbikes in 2009.

“When the request came from Honda to replace Casey I was a little bit surprised, but the chance to jump on a MotoGP bike, the best MotoGP bike in the world, was a nice feeling,” said Rea.

Nine-time champion Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, who will end his unhappy stay with Ducati at the end of the season and return to Yamaha as Lorenzo’s teammate for 2013, admitted on Thursday his time with the Italian team had been “difficult”.

“This experience, this adventure with Ducati was very difficult already from the start. And unfortunately we were not able to fix our problem during this year and a half, and I was never competitive with this bike,” Rossi told www.motogp.com.

Rossi insists that his previous problems with Lorenzo are now a thing of the past, even admitting the Spaniard could have the quicker pace.

“I’m not sure I can be as fast as Lorenzo with the Yamaha. I think we will have less problems than in the past,” he said.

“Lorenzo was very fair with my comeback. The important thing is to have fun riding the bike and have the chance to fight for the good positions.”

Meanwhile, Lorenzo’s current teammate Ben Spies of the United States will race for Ducati’s satellite outfit Pramac in 2013 along with Italian Andrea Iannone.

The Italian manufacturer had already confirmed Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden as its factory riders for next season.