MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo was signed to replace F1-bound Valentino Rossi - Yamaha

Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis reveals famous rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were never supposed to be team-mates in MotoGP...

Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis has shed light on the rivalry that consumed team-mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo during their time in the team, revealing he never expected the seven-time premier class champion to stay in the sport so long.

Lorenzo arrived with the factory Yamaha team alongside Rossi in MotoGP on the back of double 250GP in 2008 and immediately made his mark, scoring a pole position on his debut and winning his third career event in Portugal.

What followed was an intense inter-team rivalry between Lorenzo and Rossi as they fought for supremacy within the Yamaha fold, famously resulting in a wall being used inside the pit garage to prevent the transfer of any data.

Though it raised questions as to Yamaha’s handling of their rivalry, the pair won titles in 2008, 2009 (Rossi) and 2010 (Lorenzo) before the Italian departed for Ducati.

However, in an interview with CNN, Jarvis says Lorenzo and Rossi were never intended to go head-to-head with one another as Yamaha had anticipated Rossi would be on his way to compete in Formula 1 having expressed an interest in making a transition to four wheels.

Rossi had undertaken a handful of tests in 2006 and shown his talent behind the wheel of an F1 car, while the FIA were known to be keen to facilitate any way to secure the presence of the superstar.

However, the move never came, leaving Rossi and Lorenzo to endure an occasionally toxic fight for supremacy in the Yamaha ranks. This continued in 2013 when Rossi returned to Yamaha from Ducati, until Lorenzo himself left for Ducati in 2017. Despite this, Jarvis believes this actually raised Yamaha to a higher standard.

"The rivalry, which was very hot because Valentino was the king of the moment, and Lorenzo was the newcomer, the young gun. So, it was difficult to manage, it is difficult to manage when you have two top riders in the team, but when we managed it we -- three times in a row -- became Triple Crown champions.

"So, when you have competitive riders in the team it elevates the team, they push each other, and you just have to hope that they are not self-destructive."

"We were just smiling because when we hired Jorge when he was a rookie, before he was even in the MotoGP class, we hired him to replace Valentino Rossi because we thought Valentino Rossi would retire soon and go to race in Formula One, and this was back in 2006, and it's kind of like 'who could ever have predicted that Jorge Lorenzo would retire before Valentino retires?' Life is strange sometimes."

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