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A recent interview with current MotoGP Champ Jorge Lorenzo reveals he has never feared Rossi. Whether you like Lorenzo or not, there's no doubt that he's a supreme talent on a motorcycle and has a true racers heart.
Did this second MotoGP title feel different to the first?
"Every title is important, and being the MotoGP world champion is the maximum goal for every rider. The first time is more emotional, like every first time in your life, but it also depends on how difficult it was to win, and this year was harder than in 2010."
So this last one was better?
"You could say that. It came later in the season, and with age you enjoy these things more."
Some people said you were too conservative towards the end of the season. How do you respond to that?
"I wasn't in an easy situation, I never had another Yamaha in front of me during the last five races, and there were some very fast riders on them. I wasn't going slow. I was always second, and Dani was in top form, riding with nothing to lose and using a very strong Honda. And we can't forget that I was fighting for a world championship; the important thing is to finish with the 1 plate".
Are you worried because your last tests were ruined by rain?
"Relatively. Right now I'm not feeling any pressure because I've already achieved my dream. I was a two-time 250cc champion, and now I've won twice in MotoGP. I'm feeling appropriately worried, but Yamaha is working flat out, like I do both on and off the track. I can't ask for anything more from a factory that's already giving 110%."
Is it possible to work on the 2013 bike without feedback from you and Rossi?
"It's harder, and if we had lapped at Valencia and Aragon, it would have been better for the engineers."
What will change with Rossi's return to Yamaha? He is a pretty difficult teammate, also in terms of media coverage.
"Valentino isn't difficult; he won 9 world championships and over a hundred races, and he is a very charismatic rider with the media. It's normal that many people root for him. I always see the positive side of things. When I first came into MotoGP, I had a lot of respect for everyone, but I feared nobody. I immediately tried to win. I wasn't worried about my teammate, knowing that I only had to concentrate on myself and my own performance. Now I'm in a better position than in 2008, and I'm more positive and relaxed than ever."
Who will you fear more next season: Valentino or Marquez?
"Fear isn't the right word, and I don't know which of the two will be quicker. It will also depend on the bikes, whether the Honda or Yamaha will be more competitive."
Is Pedrosa the title favorite, as stated by Marquez?
"It depends on many factors, and the bike is first among them."
You have done a few car races this winter: have you ever thought about racing cars seriously?
"If I do any automobile races in the future, it will only be for fun. I can't fight with guys who started racing karts as children and have tons of experience. It would be as if they wanted to win in MotoGP. It's impossible."
What do you want for Christmas?
"Good health for myself, my friends and my family. Professionally, it would be nice to win another MotoGP championship, but that's not something you can ask Santa Claus to give you. It's something you must fight for every day."