The intricate dance of contract negotiating position for the 2011 silly season is in full swing. Every opportunity that the press gets to interrogate the Fantastic Four about their intentions for 2011 is seized upon with relish, despite the fact the 2010 MotoGP season has yet to begin.
Jorge Lorenzo was the latest victim: the Spaniard was being feted by fans at a special dinner in Barcelona, laid on by his fan club. The Spanish press agency Europa Press was there, and took the opportunity to ask Lorenzo about the where he sees himself in 2011. Lorenzo's main priority, was to remain at Yamaha he said, because of the confidence the factory had shown in him and because he is very happy there. "But I can't guarantee anything," he added.
Many factors would come into play in his choice, he said, and he would not make his choice solely on the machinery available. "I won't just be guided by having the best bike," Lorenzo said, "I'm not as cold-hearted as I may sometimes appear." Lorenzo would not be taking what Valentino Rossi chooses to do into account, though. "I don't really mind whether Rossi carries on or not," Lorenzo told Europa Press, referring to the possibility that the Italian could elect to retire at the end of 2010. Would Lorenzo like to be the only rider at Yamaha? "Of course!" Lorenzo replied, "but there are other things that motivate me more than whether I have Valentino or anyone else as a team mate."
Lorenzo also had words of praise for his Fiat Yamaha team mate. "Rossi was the undisputed winner this year," Lorenzo said, but added that he himself had thrown away his own title chances. "We could have won it if we hadn't made so many mistakes, but we did, unfortunately."
As for next season, it looked like being a repeat of 2009, Lorenzo told Europa Press. "The four first riders from this year should, in theory, be the riders who will be battling for the title next year." The fact that those same four riders - Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa - also see their contracts end at the end of the season creates an unusual situation, Lorenzo acknowledged. "This situation has never happened before, or has happened very rarely," he said. "It will be a very interesting riders market next year, for sure."