Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lorenzo facing 'must win' challenge

32 points behind with seven rounds to go means that Jorge Lorenzo needs to claw back an average of 4.6 points per race if he is to catch Casey Stoner and win the 2011 MotoGP title.

With Repsol Honda rider Stoner winning six races this year, compared with just two for Lorenzo, it's looking like a daunting task.

But Lorenzo isn't about to give up on defending his title and hopes he can reclaim some of the lost ground at Indianapolis this weekend.

Lorenzo finished third for Yamaha at Indy last year, while Stoner - then a Ducati rider - crashed out.

"Indy is a track I really enjoy," said Lorenzo. "I treasure wonderful moments like the podiums in 2008 and 2010, and my victory in 2009 wearing Captain America's helmet. 

"I am now in good shape and am ready to regain the ground we lost in Brno, where a mistake put a distance between Casey and I. 

"I hope the good energy I feel in this track will still help us to fight for the title. I am really looking forward to going back to the US and riding my M1."

Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg admitted it's getting close to a win or bust situation. 

"If we want to win the world championship we need to win races and start beating Casey, it is going to be a big challenge but we're ready for it!” said the Dutchman.

Zeelenberg also hopes the new track surface will also play into Lorenzo's hands after set-up struggles in 2010.

"We had some problems at Indianapolis last year, but they resurfaced the circuit so we're looking forward to checking it out as it wasn't in the best shape before," said Zeelenberg. "Jorge struggled to get the bike set up properly on it in 2010."

One question presently hanging in the air is whether Yamaha will ask team-mate Ben Spies to assist Lorenzo should the opportunity arise.

Spies won his first race at Assen this year, but is only sixth in the championship and 109 points from Stoner. 

The Texan beat Lorenzo at Indy last year, finishing second last on a satellite Tech 3 Yamaha, and Zeelenberg expects Spies to be very competitive this weekend: 

"With Ben's excellent experience over there we believe we are able to fight for victory or podiums."

Lorenzo and Spies will race in the special red and white livery this weekend. 

Both will have the chance to use new parts tested at the recent Brno test.

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