Sports Psychology 101: Get in Your Opponents Head

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Marco Melandri has an interesting post on his blog this weekend about Jorge Lorenzo’s Le Mans victory celebration. In case you missed it, after the race Lorenzo seated himself in a lawn chair with a bag of popcorn and soda right smack in front of one of the giant televisions that broadcast the race to the crowd. Considering the last race Lorenzo won, he jumped into a pond, this celebration was a bit more demur, but as Melandri points out there may be more than meets the eye on this celebration.

Riding past the celebration, Marco Melandri noticed one thing that struck him as odd: the chair that Lorenzo was sitting in was a bright fluorescent yellow. To the Italian rider, this could only mean that the celebration was a reference to Valentino Rossi, who as any true MotoGP fan will know, considers fluorescent yellow to be a special color, and uses it on his bike, number plate, and leathers.

Similar to how Kruschev and Kennedy “talked” to each other through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Melandri says Lorenzo is sending a message to Rossi through this celebration. Sitting on Rossi’s “thrown”, Lorenzo is pronouncing himself as the new king of MotoGP, perhaps even suggesting that he has already taken Rossi’s seat at Fiat-Yamaha as the #1 rider on the team. Lorenzo currently leads the MotoGP Championship, and is nine points ahead of Rossi.

Whether Melandri is right or wrong in his assessment to the post-race celebration at Le Mans by Lorenzo (it should be noted that Rossi basically invented the post-GP race gag celebration), it’s clear that Lorenzo is the rising star in the MotoGP paddock, while Rossi’s days are waning. There’s some debate as to whether Lorenzo is the personality that Ross was/is off the track, but there’s little doubt that the young Spaniard can ride. With silly season brewing up, and a lot of speculation surrounding where Rossi will land for 2011, it’s clear Lorenzo already has made up his mind on who should be getting the coveted lead-spot at Fiat-Yamaha.

Source: Marco Melandri