Valentino Rossi says to write off Jorge Lorenzo’s chances on the Ducati are ‘stupid’ after he was unable to beat Andrea Iannone at Valencia today.
The Doctor finished fourth behind his countryman in the final MotoGP race of the year after a hard-fought scrap between the pair which raged for much of the race, which was eventually won by his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo
But he added that he was never in a position to compete with the straight line speed of the Ducati, and says Lorenzo could be a serious threat when he joins the team for next year.
“I was able to overtake Iannone and stay some laps in second place, but unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to take some margin,” he said.
“Marquez in the second half of the race was a lot faster so no way to stay with him, and after we do the battle with Iannone and as always it was a very hard fight.
“I tried everything but unfortunately Iannone was faster and in fact in the last lap he did a very good lap time and was better than me an unfortunately at the end I just finish fourth.
“But it was a good race. Always Valencia is difficult and we try everything, but was not enough for the podium. Anyway it is a positive season and from Tuesday we start the next one.
“When you fight with Iannone is always not easy but sincerely speaking, was a hard fight but we never touch, is okay. I think he was very aggressive with me, but also I was very aggressive with him.
“I pushed a lot on the right hand corners, because I was stronger, so I played my card but unfortunately at the end I was in too much trouble on the right side of the tyre.”
While Rossi is returning to business as usual with the Movistar Yamaha squad this week, Lorenzo is heading down pit lane and switching to red as he replaces Iannone at Ducati. But instead of writing him off before he even gets there, Rossi believes he could still pose a threat.
“Here in Valencia, like in Aragon, we expect that the Honda in the last laps is stronger than us, because they stress the rear tyre less.
“But in the last races also the Ducati uses the tyre in a better way, especially the front. It is like they use less the front, in the wet in Malaysia and also in the dry here.
“The Ducati is a very different bike. It has some weak points compared with us, but in the straight it is very fast.
“ I’m sure 100 per cent if you forget about Lorenzo with the Ducati for the battle of the championship you are very stupid, because I think that he can be very competitive.”