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2013

Lorenzo set for title challenge

Languishing behind leader Marc Marquez, defending MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo says he is ready to 'fight for victory'.

Last Modified: 13 Sep 2013 10:04
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Lorenzo triumphed at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone two weeks ago, holding off leader Marquez [AFP]

Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo said he was back to full health going into this weekend's San Marino MotoGP, as the Spaniard prepares himself for another run at the title.

Lorenzo, who suffered a broken collarbone at Assen in June, twice underwent surgery following his initial heavy crash in the Netherlands and a subsequent accident in Germany two weeks later.

However, the two-time world champion said his injuries had finally healed and that he was back in proper physical shape.

"I feel strong again like I was at Montmelo and Mugello before the crash," said Lorenzo, referring to consecutive wins in Italy and Catalonia before his fall in the Netherlands.

"Misano is a track I enjoy a lot and also the Yamaha is comfortable there.

My next goal is to fight for the victory once more and think race by race, improving our pace step by step

Jorge Lorenzo,

"My next goal is to fight for the victory once more and think race by race, improving our pace step by step," added the Spaniard, who has won the last two races at Misano.

Points chase

Lorenzo halted leader Marc Marquez's four-race winning streak when he triumphed at Silverstone a fortnight ago, but he is still 39 points adrift of his rookie compatriot in the riders' standings with six races remaining.

Having seen title rivals Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa both struck down by injuries this season, Marquez himself dislocated his shoulder at Silverstone but the 20-year-old was confident it would not hamper him at Misano.

"I'm already feeling much better since my accident in Silverstone, so hopefully I'll be almost 100 per cent by this weekend," said Marquez, who finished a commendable second in Britain despite the setback.

"I will arrive in Italy for the race weekend a little later than usual as I will use the time to have more physiotherapy on my shoulder," added Marquez, who has finished on the podium at every race bar June's Italian MotoGP, where he crashed out while running in second.

Meanwhile Pedrosa, who is second overall and trails Honda teammate Marquez by 30 points, is eager to cut the gap at the top after finishing a frustrating third at the British MotoGP.

"I was slightly disappointed after Silverstone, as we knew we had the speed and race pace to challenge for victory," said Pedrosa.

"Anyway, we must learn from the mistakes and move on. Misano is quite a tricky track and the grip level is always a challenge, but I enjoy riding there.

"I've had good results in the past, even if last year we experienced a nightmare on race day. This year we arrive confident and looking to reduce the points to Marc in the championship."

Welcome return

Seven-time champion Valentino Rossi's return to his home circuit will be greeted with the usual fanfare, as the Italian seeks to go one better than last year's runner-up finish at the World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, renamed in honour of Rossi's close friend who died following a crash at the 2011 Malaysian MotoGP.

"Misano is next and it is my home Grand Prix and an important weekend. I like the track, I always go fast there, especially with the Yamaha and last year also I was able to do a very good race."

A winner at Misano in 2008 and 2009, Rossi is fourth overall in this year's standings, 38 points in arrears of third-placed Lorenzo.

"In the past I was always on the podium with Yamaha. We will arrive very strong and we will try to do our best," said the Italian

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Source:
AFP
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