by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 205
24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: It took a special kind of courage for jorge lorenzo to admit he was scared at Assen. looking pale and frankly shocked, he was fresh off his worst ever GP result – a very unlucky 13th. One year before he had been hailed as heroic, after crashing at speed in practice, smashing his collarbone, flying to Barcelona for an operation in the small hours. He was back at Assen that evening, and raced the following day, finishing fifth. His face was ashen after that as well, but for quite different reasons. This year, “I was not able to be brave,” he said. The reason was clear enough: the wet track was giving him nasty flash-backs. He spoke about recalling the pain of the crash, and apologised to his team and the fans. The honesty was painful to share. Fear is not a feasible pillion passenger on a GP bike. Being scared is not something professional racers readily admit to. Or at least not until they retire. Kevin Schwantz is one example. Hampered by injury, having won the title only after his career-long rival Rainey had crashed out permanently, it all came home to him in the rain at Suzuka, one of his most successful circuits in conditions made for him to excel. He got scared. Soon afterwards, he retired mid-season. Another from the same era: famous French frequent faller Christian Sarron told me earlier this year: “Throughout my racing career, my stomach was in a knot with fear.” If Lorenzo’s Assen confession comes from the same book, then it’s hard not to believe it marks a major turning point for him as well. It is not necessarily a point of no return. If he’s looking for inspiration, it is right there on the other side of the pit. Valentino never admitted to being scared during his Ducati slump, or not in so many words. But he had many more crashes than he was used to, and there were several occasions of conspicuous caution. And just look at him go now. The other thing Jorge admitted was also important. “I am not fighting for the World Championship.” Ill fortune from the start of the year puts him 119 points down on boy wonder Marquez ... almost five race wins. Not to mention the other three riders ahead of him. So that’s just being realistic. Put this in the back of your mind, add some rain and then let the surface go dry again halfway through ... and feeling fear on a circuit that is fast and difficult enough in the best of conditions is rather more understandable. Next weekend, Jorge goes to the Sachsenring. Last year, he crashed there as well, smashing his freshly-repaired collarbone once again. This time he didn’t return on race day. It will be interesting and significant to see if the fear jumps aboard his M1 at this track as well. WHen feAr rides piLLion OPINION OPINION MotoGP MICHAEL SCOTT