Reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo has said that he does not mind that Yamaha would rather see his team-mate, Valentino Rossi, win the title as the Italian is the more popular rider.
During his 13 years in MotoGP, Rossi has become a huge fan favourite, with the six-time World Champion adored by fans across the world. With this feverish support, Yamaha knows that a seventh title for Rossi would help further their brand, and Lorenzo knows that money trumps all.
However, the Spaniard won’t be paying too much attention to Yamaha’s fondness for Rossi as long as the team continue providing him with the support he needs.
“I have never been worried about Rossi being more media-friendly and that he has more photographers around him,” Lorenzo told Motorsport.com. “And I even see it as normal that Yamaha prefers him to win because of his popularity, because that way it would have sold more bikes.
“To me, the only thing that matters is to have the same equipment because I trust in my abilities and I know that with those rules I will do well. In that sense, this company is Japanese and very serious and it has always supported me as much as possible.”
Lorenzo and Rossi were locked in a tight battle at the top of the MotoGP standings throughout the 2015 season, but Rossi was dealt a huge blow ahead of the season finale in Valencia when he was forced to start from the back of the grid after being found to have kicked Marc Marquez off his bike during the penultimate race at Sepang.
As a result, Lorenzo triumphed in Valencia with Rossi coming home in fourth, a margin which saw Lorenzo win the title by just five points. The Spaniard admitted that there was an air of unease after he won the title, and believes that the controversy at Sepang fueled that.
It is well documented that Lorenzo and Rossi have not always seen eye-to-eye, but the 28-year-old is still glad to be on the same team as Rossi.
“It’s true that some parts of the team were left with a weird feeling, a bit different than if just one Yamaha rider had been fighting for the title,” he said. “That controversy made a few people act somewhat cold, but I think that was a consequence of what happened at Sepang.
“I have never vetoed Valentino or any other teammate, not even when I had the chance to do it. I’m aware that Rossi is beneficial for the brand, both on and off the track. It’s good that it goes on that way.
“We have a very complete structure, we had secured the triple crown, and that without a competitive pairing is impossible.”
With regard to his future, Lorenzo has expressed his desire to remain with Yamaha even though Ducati have shown interest in acquiring his services, as he is eager to retire with Yamaha and become their most successful rider.
“Even during the hardest times I’ve said that my dream was to retire here,” the 28-year-old said. “And not only that, but after the title I think it’s possible to become the most successful rider with the team. It would be a dream.
“But just like I make this team the top priority, it’s important for them to value what I have given to them. After Valentino’s last title in 2009, the only one who has won with Yamaha is me.”