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GP Week : Issue 36
#3 – Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha ROOKIES aren’t supposed to be so fast. Or put it another way, in the premier class, the bikes aren’t supposed to be that easy. Apparently nobody told double 250 champion Jorge Lorenzo, and he was on pole position for the first three races, and won the third. At the fourth, he started to fall off. Spectacularly, and rather too often. Aah, that was a bit more like it. But the impression had already been made. The youngster from Mallorca, schooled since early childhood by his father to be a World Champion, was a force to be reckoned with right from his very first start in MotoGP. Jorge is also given to post-race tableaux, but he’s a very different character from Rossi. Being Spanish, he lacks the Italian’s natural ebullience. He’s much more of a studied personality. It’s significant that Jorge is taking acting classes, in his down-time in tax-haven London. This fact makes him more rather than less impressive. There’s a streak of the hot- heat about his riding, but also a carefully considered side as well. He is still just 21, and with his career well planned. With his best years to come, there’ll be a few more Lorenzo’s Land flags in the MotoGP gravel traps in the future. #4 – Andrea Dovizioso – Honda AND another blazing rookie, but rather different from his 250 sparring partner Lorenzo. Dovi is quieter, and goes about his business with far fewer fireworks. But does he get on with the job. Only Rossi scored points in every race this year, and just two riders dropped only one race. One was old reliable Shinya Nakano. The other one was Dovi. And he beat Nakano by four places and 64 points in the championship. Riding a satellite-team Honda in a year that the breed was not especially well-favoured, and furthermore (like Lorenzo) on the less-favoured Michelin tyres, Dovi didn’t have much special going for him in his rookie year. He could have quietly got on with learning the circuits and finding his feet. Actually, that’s what he did. But with such speed and proficiency that by the end of the year he wasn’t just harrying Hayden on the factory bike, but beating him in a straight fight, for his first rostrum in Malaysia, pictured right. And several other times in the year, pushing Nicky down to sixth in the championship. Dovi is a lean and scruffy-looking individual, with even the hint of the look of a very illustrious predecessor and compatriot, a great bike and then car champion. And next year, this Nuvolari Nuovo gets Nicky’s bike and full factory support. It will be very interesting to see how he deals with new team-mate Dani Pedrosa, on equal machinery. 52