Jorge Lorenzo says it is imperative to not lose ground to title rival Valentino Rossi this weekend at Sepang, or else the Italian will in all likelihood become champion.
Lorenzo’s title chances were given a major boost on Sunday at Phillip Island with a second-place finish behind Marc Marquez, as Andrea Iannone demoted Rossi to fourth.
It means Lorenzo now trails Rossi by 11 points with 50 remaining in the final two races of the year, and the Spaniard says he cannot afford to conceded any more points to his rival in Malaysia if he is to head to Valencia with any realistic chance of lifting the crown.
“If I lose points again at Sepang, I think Rossi would be champion,” Lorenzo told Spanish publication AS. “We need to close the gap, no matter what.
“[Otherwise] it would take something like what happened in Valencia in 2006,” he added, referring to when Rossi crashed in the opening laps, handing the title to Nicky Hayden in the process.
While Lorenzo conceded it will be hard to win both of the remaining races with Marquez in such strong form, he insists this is his target, rather than playing the percentages.
“Until we get to the Saturdays in Malaysia and Valencia we can't make calculations,” he said.
“But the best recipe is to go fast and not make mistakes. You never know, but if we continue this way we have a big chance of winning.”
Speaking in the post-race press conference, he added: “I think Marc is again very strong, so for sure it will be difficult to win the two races, but we are making a good job during all the weekends.
“With Davide [Marelli, data engineer] and Ramon [Forcada, crew chief] we make a really good bike, and we just want to keep like that to be the fast as possible in practices and the races.
“It’s the only way to have the most options to be champion.”