After debuting the 2010 Fiat-Yamaha MotoGP team and the new(ish) YZR-M1, news came out that the Fiat-Yamaha team, like many other teams before them, will not be sharing data between its two riders, effectively erecting a wall in the Fiat-Yamaha garage. The news was confirmed by Masahiko Nakajima, MotoGP Group Leader and Fiat Yamaha Team Director, that there will be no sharing of data between the two riders this year as they battle for the MotoGP Championship once again. The issue has already made its first divide, as Lorenzo and Rossi have expressed very different sentiments on the topic.
Last year’s champion Valentino Rossi is decidedly in favor for the building the wall in the Fiat-Yamaha team, which makes sense since the Italian has the most to gain by keeping his teammate and biggest rival at arm’s length.
“Speaking with Yamaha I think Jorge, especially last year and already in 2008, demonstrated great speed and a good attitude to fix and set the bike,” said the Champion. “Now he has been in the team for two years, so everyone agrees that it’s possible for everyone to make their own way. Also, Jorge wants to work more on the development, so I think it’s right that everyone does his job alone. But at the end it doesn’t change a lot because all the comments between me and Jorge are quite similar, so it’s not a big change.”
Jorge Lorenzo was less than enthusiastic about the divide, and at first balked at commenting about the situation saying, “I don’t have anything to comment about this.” A couple days later however the Spanish rider had found a few words about the arrangement, none of which were terribly complimentary.
“I have great respect for Valentino. He has an incredible talent and is an intelligent person. Last year I was close to beating him and with a step forward I can have the chance to succeed. I do not care what he says, I’m not interested in listening to that I copy his bike’s settings to win. I think about myself. In 2009, we compared data and there were races where we did well, in others both Valentino and I did worse. I don’t know why Yamaha made this choice, I believe that this will slow down development on the bike. However I’m not worried, I’m self sufficient.”
With the divide in the garage, it remains to be seen how this decision not to share information will really pan out. Will it favor Rossi who won’t be handing Lorenzo year’s of experience and bike setup? Or will Lorenzo come out on top, proving to everyone that he’s capable of dethroning maybe the greatest rider of our time? Only time will tell.