Q: How different is Jorge Lorenzo compared to one year ago?
A: Last year, if we consider my shape and the bike situation, we were at 50 percent of our potential. Today, we are at around 90 percent. I’m as slim as when I made my debut in MotoGP in 2008. The bike has also improved a lot.
Q: What did you learn from last season?
A: As I always say, you cannot change the mistakes you did in the past. But you can learn from them and try to improve. This is what I did. I learned to take care of my physical preparation even more than what I was used to doing. I have always trained a lot, but last year due to several surgeries I underwent in winter, I couldn’t train enough and I arrived at the start of the season not at the top of the shape. I paid for my mistakes.
Q: How will you arrive in the best possible shape for the Qatar opening round?
A: Since Valencia last year, I stopped training only one week, at Christmas. I have followed a strict daily program. I train from six to nine hours a day. I do mountain bikes, gym, and then I ride all kind of bikes: motocross, trial, dirt track, pocket bikes, etc. I think variety is the secret.
Q: How do you work to improve your concentration?
A: Concentration has always been one of my strong points, and I try to keep the level always high. This year, I have prepared well physically and I feel good mentally, too. When the bike works well and you can ride fast, this boosts confidence on and off track.
Q: Have you thought about changing your riding style to make another step forward in the title hunt?
A: Each rider has his tricks and secrets. Concentration, regularity, and corner speed are still my strong points. But I’ll keep working to fine-tune my skills and minimize my weak points.
Q: Is Marc Marquez the best rider you have ever raced against?
A: It’s difficult to say because each season has its own story. Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez are maybe the strongest rivals I have ever battled…but Dani Pedrosa is also a fast rider.
Q: How can Marc Marquez be beaten?
A: Gaining more points than him and the other riders. There is no other way. To beat Marc, you need to be very fast and consistent. I aim at finishing on the podium in every race and winning as much as possible. This is the only way to fight for the title. I really look forward to capture my third premier class title.
Q: Do you think that Marc can win for another 5 or 6 years?
A: Winning two consecutive world titles doesn’t mean that you can win for the next three our four 4 years. He will have to work for it. Nothing can be taken for granted in our sport. This is also the fascination of MotoGP.
Q: What are your expectations for the 2015 season?
A: I’m very motivated because I feel well and the bike is better than it was last year at this point of the season.
Q: The Yamaha M1 improved a lot in the second part of last season. What did you ask for the 2015 version?
A: Some of the improvements we asked for the last season have arrived. Also, the new seamless shift gearbox (upshift and downshift). I am confident that we will keep improving, especially in the braking that remains our weak point.
Q: Takaaki Kimura, Vice President of Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., announced the use of the full seamless gearbox on the YZR-M1 for the 2015 MotoGP Championship. What was your feeling during the last test?
A: It’s too early to know exactly how much we can gain with it. We need to keep on working on the chassis and electronics to utilize it to its full potential, but it’s a big step forward. Together with Valentino, we pushed a lot, as I believe that it can help us to brake later.
Q: The relationship with Valentino Rossi seems really good. Is he no longer your first rival?
A: The relationship has improved. We are adults now, but we are both ambitious and we aim at the same target. Together, we make a great team and we share our impressions about the M1 to improve the bike. It’s clear that we are here for winning and to beat our teammate—the only one who has your own bike—and all the others.
Q: Qatar is usually a great track for Yamaha. The podium of the opening round will be…
A: I don’t like to make forecasts. It’s better to wait for the 29th of March to know it.
Q Who do you see as main contenders for the title?
A: Honda and Marc Marquez remain the reference, but Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa also will be strong contenders. I think Ducati will fight for the victory in some races. In general, I expect a hard fought and more open championship.