Germany MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa face new challengers

The 2012 season might not go into the books as a classic chapter but certainly it was as an important one, with the retirement of Casey Stoner, the redemption of Dani Pedrosa and the re-crowning of Jorge Lorenzo.

Hopefully for the future of British racing we will also one day look back on it as another step forward in the consolidation of Cal Crutchlow as a genuine title contender.

It was probably as much the furore surrounding Stoner’s retirement as a lack of headline-making form in the second half of the season that meant Lorenzo wrapped up the championship at Phillip Island without the fanfare of his first title back in 2010.

The celebrations that met Pedrosa’s crash and Lorenzo’s second place in Australia were perhaps born more of relief than jubilation, the former having cranked up the pressure on his fellow Spaniard in the second half of what would eventually prove his best ever season.

In riding conservatively in the second half of the season, Lorenzo opened the door to his great rival and it seemed cracks were beginning to appear in his psychological armour in the face of Pedrosa’s relentless winning form.

It was a moment that could have easily seen the balance of power tip irreversibly in Pedrosa’s favour, with momentum already on his side thanks to victories in five of the previous six races.

Lorenzo took the other win in that six-race spell – at Misano, where Pedrosa was wiped out by Hector Barbera – and in the six races prior to that Lorenzo had managed only one more win, at Mugello.

There was a similarly worrying dip in his win ratio during his previous championship-winning season of 2010, which he also opened with wins in four of the opening six races before going on the defensive.

While his compatriot hit form in the second half of that year, Lorenzo managed just one win in the six races leading up to Motegi, where Pedrosa crashed and broke his collarbone, effectively ruling himself out of the chase for a title Lorenzo wrapped up the following weekend in Malaysia.

Of course, as with all champions, it is Lorenzo’s consistency that set him apart, in both winning seasons. But he must hope to win more than six races in 2013, especially if Pedrosa carries his current form through to the start of the new campaign.

Pedrosa and Lorenzo’s reaction not only to this fresh challenge but more importantly to the pressure they will exert on each other from the opening round could ensure the 2013 MotoGP World Championship is not the two-horse race people are predicting.

Any mistakes will be gleefully capitalised on, not only by Marquez but by Rossi, Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista and possibly Andrea Dovizioso if he can prove the man to finally tame the Ducati.

It is an intriguing prospect and as the sport endures another transitional year it may well be that Ezpeleta, and the fans, get the close racing they are so desperate for ahead of schedule.


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