Jorge Lorenzo says it is his intention to fight poleman Marc Marquez for victory for Aragon, and not merely finish ahead of title rival Valentino Rossi.
In an intense qualifying session, Marquez beat Lorenzo by just over a tenth – both lapping comfortably inside the reigning champion’s lap record – while points leader Rossi could no better than sixth, eight tenths off the pace.
And while Lorenzo acknowledged ahead of the weekend that beating the Italian would be pivotal for his title hopes, with only five races left to close down Rossi’s 23 point lead, he is adamant that he will not be content simply to finish in front of his Yamaha teammate on Sunday.
“The goal is to get the maximum points possible, to win and get 25,” said Lorenzo.
“But it’s not going to be easy, because Marc and Dani [Pedrosa] and also probably Valentino will be there with a good pace.
“Maybe with a good start it’s possible to open a little gap, but if it doesn’t happen the race is very long, especially this one with the rear [tyre] on the left [side].
“We’ve done a good job with this, so I’m confident for the race, but you never know what can happen.”
Speaking about his teammate’s qualifying struggles, Lorenzo observed that Rossi was struggling to maintain his pace over a stint – but warned against counting him out of contention for the race.
“In morning practice [FP3] he was faster than me in one lap, but then he couldn’t repeat the fastest one,” explained Lorenzo.
“It seems he has some problems keeping the pace after some laps, but for sure they are working hard to solve this problem for tomorrow.
“So there is no reason to discard Valentino tomorrow.”
Rossi: I suffered a lot
Rossi, who starts from his worst grid position since July’s Indianapolis race, says he will try to use Sunday morning’s warm-up session in a bid to solve his bike’s ills.
“With a higher temperature I suffered a lot with the tyres, because after some laps I slid too much and wasn‘t able to find the right rhythm,” said the 36-year-old.
“So we have to work and try to improve the balance so we can enter the corner with better braking. During tomorrow‘s warm up we will try to improve the setup and also the pace.
“My rivals are very fast, so this makes everything a bit more difficult, but we will try.”