Maybe Junior is right...
Lorenzo, Pedrosa rivalry starts to simmer.
Monday, 17th March 2008
Spanish stars Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa may have faced each other just once as MotoGP riders, but their bitter 250cc rivalry is already showing signs of resurfacing after Pedrosa reportedly ignored Lorenzo on the Qatar podium.
Although Pedrosa and Lorenzo raced each other for two seasons in 125GP - during 2002 and 2003 - they were rarely in direct conflict, and it was only when Lorenzo fought reigning 250cc champion Pedrosa head-on during the 2005 quarter-litre season that the fireworks between them - and their respective team managers - really began to ignite.
The rivalry reached its on-track climax with a collision between them at the 2005 German Grand Prix, which sent Lorenzo to the ground.
The incident occurred when the Fortuna Honda rookie tried to overtake Pedrosa on the inside of the fast left-hander at the bottom of the Sachsenring hill, but Dani appeared not to see his countryman and cut across the front of the #48.
Pedrosa's Movistar Honda suffered a bent exhaust in the resulting impact - but he still went on to take victory - while Lorenzo was eliminated on the spot.
"I tried to get past Pedrosa because I was very quick out of the corners, but he did everything to try and stop me," claimed Lorenzo at the time. "In the end he hit me, on another day I could have hit him. It's one of those things."
For his part, Pedrosa said that he simply hadn't seen Lorenzo. "I suddenly noticed that somebody hit me from the back," declared Dani. "The bike went up and I avoided a crash like a miracle."
But Lorenzo's team manager didn't accept that explanation.
"I am surprised by the comments of Dani Pedrosa who claimed he did not see Jorge," declared Dani Amatriain. "I think maybe he should change his helmet because obviously the one he has at the moment doesn't let him see very much. From what I saw, and have subsequently seen on television, I am very clear on who the aggressor was and who wasn't..."
And so the war of words continued for the rest of the '05 season, with Pedrosa arguably having the last laugh by beating Lorenzo in their final 250cc race together - and thereby denying Jorge of his final chance to replace him as the youngest ever winner of a 250cc grand prix.
The pair were then separated when Pedrosa stepped up to
MotoGP with Repsol Honda for 2006, where he won two races in his rookie season before finishing second in the 2007 world championship, while Lorenzo took the 250cc crown in both '06 and '07.
But Lorenzo's graduation to the Fiat Yamaha team has put the 20-year-old firmly back on Pedrosa's radar - especially after delivering a debut pole position [Pedrosa qualified fifth for his first MotoGP race] and a Pedrosa-equalling second place finish in his first MotoGP race.
Pedrosa, still recovering from a fractured hand, took third in the Qatar night race and therefore joined Lorenzo and race winner Casey Stoner on the podium - where it wasn't something Pedrosa said that troubled Lorenzo, but what he didn't say...
"I did not like that he did not congratulate me, although we can all do and say what we want," Lorenzo told the Spanish press. "If I were him - Dani Pedrosa - I would have congratulated a newcomer that finished second. Everyone else I saw at Qatar congratulated me; mechanics, riders and officials.
"I try to get along well with everyone, to always be a gentleman, and when someone does better than me I congratulate them," claimed Jorge. "Although it might be difficult to do, I will still say to them 'you did a great job'.
"That it how I was taught to behave by my father since I was small and if Dani wins at Jerez I will, of course, congratulate him. I do not know if he would accept my congratulations, but I will do it even if I am criticised for it," he added.
The Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, which takes place on March 30, is the first home race of the year for both Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
"We are not going to get 'dizzy' after the good performance in Qatar," Lorenzo insisted. "We are only thinking about Jerez now and not about the world championship."