Lorenzo's Manager Attacks Rossi's "Mind Games" And Threatens Yamaha Exit

Another blow has been struck in the ongoing battle for supremacy inside the Fiat Yamaha garage. After Valentino Rossi announced that Yamaha would have to choose between himself and team mate Jorge Lorenzo - before backpedalling to the Italian press - this time, it is the turn of Jorge Lorenzo's side of the garage to get in a blow. That comes in an interview with the Spanish broadcaster Cadena SER, in which Marcos Hirsch, Lorenzo's manager and confidant, launched a blistering attack on the 9-time World Champion.

"It's sad that a champion of the stature of Valentino Rossi is so preoccupied by Jorge," Hirsch told Cadena SER. "What he should be doing is being happy, fighting on track and beating him man-to-man, and not using strategies like saying 'get out of here' and 'I don't want you here'." Hirsch was most critical of Rossi's mind games: "His psychological strategy of sending messages using friendly journalists surprises me a little."

Hirsch repeated that Lorenzo was untroubled by the situation, and that he did not view the rivalry with Rossi as something special. "He is one more rival to beat," Hirsch said. "A rival at an incredibly high level, but that's all. There are other riders on the track who are talented and fast, and you never know what is going to happen."

Hirsch was particularly critical of the way Rossi was putting pressure on Yamaha. "They are both employees of Yamaha," Hirsch said of Rossi and Lorenzo, but he could not understand how Rossi could be allowed to put Yamaha's bosses "up against the wall." Hirsch emphasized that he thought it was very sad that a champion of Rossi's stature should stoop to the level of mind games and political pressure. "It is sad that Rossi ... feels the need to fight his battles in backrooms and corridors to try and gain some kind of advantage."

Hirsch's criticism did not prevent the giant Brazilian from applying a little pressure of his own. Lorenzo, Hirsch said, would not discount leaving Yamaha. "We will listen to the people who come and talk to us, and together with Jorge, we will weigh up what we believe is the best for Jorge's career in motorcycle racing." Lorenzo's decision would not be affected by political infighting, nor would he be forced to take a decision before he was ready, Hirsch told Cadena SER. "If we have to weigh up options with Suzuki, Honda, Ducati, we will not take any account of whether Mr Rossi says he wants us to leave or not," Hirsch said.

Lorenzo's manager could not resist a final dig at his charge's team mate. "[Rossi] will never be able to put Jorge off balance. He tried hard this year, trying to push him to the limit, but I think that he won because we lost."

Back to top

Comments

The fact that Lorenzo has to say this sort of thing through his mouthpiece of Marcos Hirsch says far more than the words they actually said.

Lorenzo is young and brash and cocky (though he pretends not to be). Rossi is "old" and wise and he got "under their skin" in EXACTLY the way he intended. Motorcycle racing is, when you get down to it, a very cerebral thing, and Rossi once again demonstrated why he is the master.

wow big words coming from a little man !! since mr rossi took a second string yamaha that was called back in 2003 an inferior machine to honda and made it a grand prix winning bike and develop it for five years , made a name for yamaha , so yes he basically can do what he dam well pleases with yamaha , and should make sounds when an issue displeases him , this is about selling bikes Mr Hirsch when will u ever get it , how many 99 yamaha has your rider sold , i rest my case ....

I always find the comments from Jorge and his people about him being immune to the pressure amusing. In 2008 after several very nasty crashes he was clearly a broken man from his pallor and body language. In 2009 when fighting for the championship he crashed out on several occasions, especially around contract time when beating Rossi could have gained him a few extra million in his pay packet for next year.

But the pressure doesn't get to him. Oh no.

Every rider who has ever challenged Rossi has had to deal with the mental game as well as the outright speed of Vale. Biaggi, Gibernau, Barros, Capirossi, Hayden and Stoner have all had to accept the fact that it is simply not enough to be as fast or faster than Vale. Its like a holy trinity. You need speed, a near genius level IQ, and a very thick skin to get into that game! Some have it and the rest desire it. In the end Jorge has had two years of tutelage under Rossi. Has has shown he has the speed part of it. He has shown that he learns very quickly so that's the second part of it. Now comes the thick skin part...

I think Lorenzo and his people are taking pages right out of Rossi's playbook. Power to them as well. What Jorge is saying is not much different than what Valentino is saying insofar as it is meant to stir a bigger pot. It is obvious that Jorge has studied Rossi pretty closely so I see this as his counter mind-game. I think next year will be more of the same between them. It made for good racing this year so I say keep it up.

I do like how they seem to have a guarded respect for one another, as opposed to some of Rossi's other rivalries.

And so goes the off season waiting period, the MASTER baiter has set the trap and now has taken the post paddock political soap opera into the off season with great aplomb. Yes he's fast but his day of reckoning is just around the corner...

Rossi knows that Yamaha sells bikes and the demographic target isn't going to change when he opens his mouth, I hate getting old too...

At last some people that aknowledge what a true world champion is, not some middle season vacationer or some kid that never won anything demanding bigger salaries wannabes, Congratulations to Valentino by the way, i did not say that yet about him/to him, it was a hard year, i hope next year is just as hard so then once and for all nobody can keep comparing a one time thing to the level where Mr Rossi is, anyways, i like the fact that Rossi has come ouy and said to Yamaha that they have to choose, i think its right, he deserves it, retire, hall of famer with the brand that help him get to where he is at, and helped him change racing for ever, i would take Vale's word very seriously, its a risky move not to, it would hurt Yamaha in a way it will mark the factory for ever.

It seems to me that Rossi didn't really get upset until Yamaha promised Jorge the same updates (at the same time) as Rossi. Jeremy Burgess said something to the effect that all the development is done on one side of the garage and all the other side has to do is show up and ride!

If this is true then I can see how this would p*** off just about anyone. Were not in the business of making our co-workers look good.

I also understand that Yamaha allowed Lorenzo to sign a 1 year contract for '10 but insisted in '08 that Rossi had to sign for 2 years. Again I'd be p***** off too.

Obviously this is all speculation but I can quite easily imagine how this situation could end up in a "him or me" confrontation.

There is a little bit of critical work to be done after, wich is setup, Rossi develops everything but it still takes work to get it right, just remember Estoril, that setup that Vale got sucked, no questions about it, Im a huge Rossi fan but i still have to recognize that Little Jorge has to work to get it right.

Marcos Hirsch: "What he (Rossi) should be doing is being happy, fighting on track and beating him (Jorge) man-to-man …”

Earth to Marcos: That’s exactly what Rossi did in 2008 and 2009 and will continue to do until you and Jorge stop playing Rossi’s game and learn how to beat him.

I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

Mind games? Hirsch would know about these,if anyone wants a read in the off season then buy Lorenzo's biography. Informative not only about Lorenzo himself but the whole paddock et al. Hirsch knows when the whole pycological side of things come out. Got to admit im suprised rossi went back on his words regarding that interview,it was a blatant move.

I'll preface this comment by admitting that I'm a really strong Lorenzo fan, but I've grown very fond of Rossi as a rider. However, when you take away the fandom and simply look at the way the two are composed, Lorenzo shows he's got a much thicker skin than most people assume.

Take as the strongest example, the final After The Flag podcast that came out after the awards ceremony. Gavin had Jorge and Vale giving their teammate/rival the other's awards, and my god did it show who was the more confident rider. When Valentino was asked to give Jorge his award for his Estoril celebration, Vale couldn't find a single good thing to say, and he looked genuinely hurt that Jorge won that award. By contrast, Jorge joked, laughed, and had a good time before ultimately giving Valentino the award for Best Overtake, back for the dramatic finish to Catalunya. Valentino's award was for the quality of a rider, wheras Jorge's was for his antic and fanfare, yet Valentino was genuinely bothered by Jorge getting that award. Jorge, on the other hand, seems to have put that mistake behind him and moved on. Valentino's the smaller man here.

In regards to Jorge crashing so much, Lorenzo fell in 4 races to Rossi's 3 this year, and they both fell on the same dreary, wet, ugly race in Donington Park. In 2008, Rossi never finished out of the points, while in 2009 Rossi finished out of the points twice. The evidence shows that Rossi has gotten in Lorenzo's head far less than others would presume, while Lorenzo has really gotten under Rossi's skin. On track, Rossi is certainly better than Lorenzo. Off track, Rossi is very afraid of Lorenzo, and the Spaniard is feeling ever more confident.

I think Rossi's mind games have less effect on Lorenzo than on any other guy he ever had to beat. It has amazed me several times this year how fast Lorenzo is able to rejoice, even after the most humiliating events.
Having said that, I also feel that on a personal level, Rossi dislikes Lorenzo way more than the other way round. And THAT is a dangerous emotion.

Rossi can say what he likes with the master engineer Burgess in his corner - would things be different without Burgess - I think so.