In light of the upcoming Dutch GP at Assen, I felt like it was a good time to get something off my chest. While everyone is prepping for free practice and the qualifying sessions, I pose this question to you.
Is Jorge Lorenzo really that good?
90% of you are probably muttering to yourself, “Yeah, DUH.” Most of you are wondering if “faker” is even a real word. Well it isn’t. The word I wanted to use was a bit more mean and carried connotations that alluded to illegal betting schemes. That isn’t the message I want to convey–or even touch to be honest. But hear me out. No one is disputing the fact that Jorge Lorenzo is a champion through and through. The question I’m positing is that, “is he taking himself out of races he deems not worth salvaging?” We see Lorenzo dominating from the front of the pack—so much that most of us just change the channel because it’s so boring. Even the commentators start talking about people in other parts of the field, showing graphics to stats we don’t care about! But think about the last time where Lorenzo started mid pack or fell in positions into mid field. When put into those situations he’s either crashed out—because someone steamrolled him, looking at you Iannone—or he had some type of mechaincal failure. I noticed this and have kept my eyes on these scenarios since. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you, my evidence.
Let’s start with his MotoGP career starting in 2008. The two lowest position’s he ever finished at was 10th in the Czech Republic and 8th at Valencia during the last race of the year. He had five races where he had DNF’s, four for accidents/crashes and one was classified as a retirement most likely due to mechanical failure. His average position in all races? Third place. In 2009 and on the story is much the same.
The chart is there for you to study for yourself but the remaining years up to the current season all tell very similar stories. Of course just looking at Lorenzo’s record doesn’t mean anything without a comparison. So I looked at Marquez’s record and they are stunningly similar but there wasn’t much data to compare. So I took Rossi’s long career and compared the same years as Lorenzo, from 2008 to 2015.
Looking at Rossi’s record from 2008 and on is a different picture. He has finishing positions ranging all over the grid whereas Lorenzo’s positions are mainly top ten with a couple outliers. Comparing the averages you can see that the Average Position between Lorenzo and Rossi are practically the same. DNF Times and Lowest Position are higher for Lorenzo again supporting our claims that he takes himself out of the race if he feels he can’t fight back and win. Rossi on the other hand finished more races on the average and his position on the average is lower than Lorenzo’s again also backing up our claim.
Of course this table can prove the exact opposite. That Lorenzo is just that good of a rider and that when he falls into the pack he pushes so hard to get back into contention that he over rides his bike. Well that isn’t how we’re choosing to read the data. Obviously we haven’t gone back to watch all these races or remember all the crashes and what position he was in before he wrecked or retired due to mechanical failure but the numbers don’t lie. The guy knows which races he needs to win and which he can afford to slack off on. I’m saying he’ll lay it down in a way to minimize damage to the bike and to himself via a low-side just to walk away from a battle he deems past the point of saving. If you don’t think these guys have that type of mastery over their machines then just stop reading and go back to listening to the canned responses the riders give to the media.
The guy ends most races on average no lower than position four which is a fantastic feat at this level of competition. But it seems like when he’s in a situation where he has to battle other riders for position, he crashes out. Now this could be due to the fact that he’s having bike issues to begin with or he’s just flat out saying to himself, this isn’t worth it anymore. Given his petulant attitude I wouldn’t put it past him. Although given the negative nature of this article, we’re actually giving him even more credit to his ability in this sport. The guy is called The Shark for a reason and his cold blooded efficient nature speaks perfectly to his ability to control his machine in any way he likes–whether that’s to win a race or to save himself from what he views an embarrassing finish.
What do you think? Are we totally off base here? We’d love to hear your thoughts.