A frustrated and dejected Jorge Lorenzo says it is now “close to impossible” for him to retain his MotoGP world championship.
At best Lorenzo feels he can only delay the inevitable and intends to crank out his trademark 100% effort in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in a bid to do that.
But there are signs that despite his deep commitment and bold race strategies Lorenzo feels powerless to contain the Honda assault led by rookie sensation Marc Marquez.
Lorenzo needs to win at Phillip Island to spoil Marquez’s title hopes at least until the following race in Japan.
Indicative of Lorenzo’s frustration is that Yamaha were almost three years behind Honda in fitting a seamless shift gearbox to their M1.
And the Honda RC213V has moved ahead in another crucial area which was once the stronghold of Yamaha – braking on corner entry lean angle.
“It is not over because Marc is still not world champion but it is close to impossible because Honda is stronger,” said a crestfallen Lorenzo after finishing third in the Malaysian Grand Prix last Sunday.
“We have tried to improve the bike but we are not at the same level. It is disappointing because my level could be a little bit higher but until we improve the bike it cannot be.
“We can win some races but to fight for the championship against these two guys (Marquez and Pedrosa) who are so strong but also when they have a very competitive bike is very difficult.
“I am doing my best but we are not competitive as much as I want to be.”
Lorenzo says he is committed to a full-frontal assault on a race win at Phillip Island and hopes that cooler conditions will eliminate the struggles with rear grip suffered by the M1 at hot races like Malaysia.
“If I am lucky it is going to be cold at the Island and I will try to win the race as in Misano and Silverstone,” he said.
“Perhaps Phillip Island is more easy because the change of directions and the long, fast corners will be good for the M1 but in the two strong braking points we will lose time.
“I will try for the win as always but sometimes you finish ten seconds behind.”
Lorenzo has won five races so far although mid-season collarbone injuries cost him valuable points and he trails Marquez by 43 points after 15 races.
If Marquez, who has won six races in a stellar rookie season, gains another seven points on Lorenzo in Australia then he is world champion with still two races remaining.
Pedrosa is in strong late season form and his Malaysia win was his third of the season although he is out of title contention and is 55 points behind Marquez.