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MotoGP: Lorenzo is not like Vettel

This season might be a testing one for Jorge Lorenzo
This season might be a testing one for Jorge Lorenzo
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Thursday, 22, May 2014 04:57

by Damien Sharkov

After a lacklustre start of the 2014 campaign, two time world champion Jorge Lorenzo has compared his trials to those of Sebastian Vettel of F1. Both have fallen on poor form, failing to adapt to respective new regulations. Yet the differences between the two are crucial

"Vettel was winning almost all the races easily last year and this year he is having problems and his team-mate is quicker. It happens," said the former MotoGP champion.

Jorge Lorenzo has struggled with the new Bridgestone tyres just as Vettel has seemingly not grown used to F1's new V6 engines and much larger, vehicle capacities. Yet for all the similarities, Lorenzo's comparison may be a bit more wishful than he may think.

The teammate contrast

To the joy of many MotoGP fans, Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha teammate, Valentino Rossi, has struck a rich vein of form, finding his way to second place finishes three times in the last five races. In that time Lorenzo has only found his way to the podium once.

Is that not dissimilar to Vettel, falling behind his teammate Ricciardo in every race this season? Not quite. Only once have the F1 pair finished with more than a spot from one another, whereas the gap between Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo has been alarmingly larger on several instances, with an average distance of more than two places from the Doctor.

At Le Mans he gave little indication of closing the gap, finishing a staggering four places behind runner-up Rossi. While the shift in the Vettel-Ricciardo paddock is not yet considerably apparent, the same cannot be true of Movistar Yamaha at the moment, especially considering Rossi, unlike Ricciardo, is a rider with a history of contending with, and consistently beating his teammate in the past.

Kids at the top

Vettel may not have the youthful face of some of his competitors, but at 26 he is relatively young compared to the current table toppers in F1. Hamilton, Rosberg and Alonso are the only drivers above Vettel in the current standings, all of whom are older than the German champion.

Jorge Lorenzo, 27, is considerably older than championship leader Marc Marquez, 21, as MotoGP has been experiencing a rapid rejuvenation over the last three seasons. Other than Marquez, Bradl at 24, Pol Espargaro aged 22 and Aleix Espargaro, two years older at 24, have all finished above Lorenzo at least once in the last five rounds.

While Vettel might have time on his side, Lorenzo's drop in consistency could see him run out of that precious commodity as younger riders begin to find their stride over the course of the season.

Winning Mentality

There is something to be said, as well, for the fact that Sebastian Vettel's fall from grace has come following four consecutive successful campaigns, breaking quite a few records on the way. He has remained the dominant force in his sport for nearly half a decade.

Jorge Lorenzo has not grabbed MotoGP history by the scruff of the neck quite so tightly, with half the number of the world championships to his name - the last consecutive title defence coming under Valentino Rossi's reign.

Lorenzo's winning mentality has recently been questioned, ironically, by Rossi and Marquez who have attributed the Spaniard's poor performances to waning confidence.

Having his resolve questioned by the last man to win a back-to-back title and by he who is very likely to be the next to do so, will have stung Lorenzo - especially considering his form in free practice as well as qualifying has been impressive. His inability to replicate this on race day indicates confidence may be the root of his troubles.

In many ways the question about Jorge Lorenzo's part in racing history will be answered by how he recovers this season. The fact is, however, MotoGP has simply not had a Vettel in the last few years. What should be on Jorge Lorenzo's mind is not making parallels between himself and the F1 champion, but getting himself back to his competitive ways as a certain other Spaniard is already looking a much more likely Vettel.

Consistency is what saw Marquez triumph over Lorenzo last year. Consistency has been key to Vettel's own success in F1. This is the commodity Lorenzo has, unfortunately, been undone by this year.

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