There has been widespread speculation (including by this author in an opinion piece on MotoMatters.com) that the Fiat Yamaha team is simply not big enough for both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, and that one or the other of them will be forced to leave at the end of 2010. Given the incredible selling power of Valentino Rossi - not just today, but probably for the next thirty or more years - the most likely scenario is that Jorge Lorenzo will be forced to up sticks and move, either to Honda or to Ducati.
Jorge Lorenzo, however, has other ideas. Speaking to Radio Catalunya this morning, the Mallorcan told Manel Fuentes that his aim is to stay with Yamaha, whatever Valentino Rossi decides to do. "I would like to stay with Yamaha, because we're a great team, a very competitive team," Lorenzo said. The Mallorcan acknowledged that his relationship with this teammate was far from ideal, but denied this formed a problem. "The atmosphere in the team is hardly incredibly friendly, we don't have an intimate friendship," Lorenzo said. "It's a good professional relationship, a working relationship."
Politically, Lorenzo's pronouncement is a very smart move, placing the ball firmly back in Valentino Rossi's court. Yamaha have already publicly stated that they would like to keep Valentino Rossi within the company until he retires from motorcycle racing, and if Lorenzo is happy to figure alongside Rossi, then it is up to the Italian to persuade Yamaha to get rid of his Spanish teammate. The question of who is number one in the team is not relevant, as Lorenzo affirmed that both bikes are the same. When asked directly by Manel Fuentes whether Rossi's bike was better than his, Lorenzo replied, "No, not at all. The Yamahas are identical."
Rossi has stated that he will make a decision on his future by the end of June. He has until then to decide whether he is happy to have Jorge Lorenzo alongside him in the Fiat Yamaha team, or whether he will try to find an alternative to that situation.