Lorenzo claims title in year marked by tragedy

Paris: Jorge Lorenzo achieved the near impossible in 2010, upstaging the irrepressible Valentino Rossi at the end of a season marred by the loss of one of the grid’s brightest young talents.

Lorenzo finished in Rossi’s slipstream in the season-opener in Qatar but laid the first firm foundation stone to his debut title on home tarmac in the next race in Jerez, and from that moment the Spaniard never looked back.

That was the first of nine wins, with the Spanish Yamaha ace wrapping up the MotoGP crown in Malaysia in October, three races from the 2010 finishing post.

As well as Jerez Lorenzo triumphed in Le Mans, Silverstone, Assen, Barcelona, Laguna Seca, Brno, Estoril and the season concluder in Valencia.

In adding his name to the MotoGP roll of honour he broke the record for the total number of points harvested in a season – taking his haul to 383 in Valencia to beat the previous benchmark of 373 set by Rossi, whose title bid was dealt a fatal blow when he broke his leg in qualifying at Mugello for the Italian GP in June.

Lorenzo also bettered Rossi’s record of podium finishes in a season, claiming one in each of 2010’s 18 races, compared to his Italian rival’s 16.

The 23-year-old’s journey from eyecatching young talent to world champion has been immortalised in an 80 minute feature film which had its red-carpet premiere with Lorenzo in attendance this week in Madrid.

‘Jorge’ charts the man from Mallorca’s ascent to the MotoGP summit to become only the second Spaniard ever to claim the motorcycling title after Alex Criville in 1999.

Lorenzo’s rise to fame has been as fast and furious as his performances on the circuit.

The dual winner of the 250cc championship only graduated to the big bikes in 2008, in Qatar, where he made the podium, notching up his first MotoGP win that year in Portugal.

He finished fourth in the world title race that season, improving to second place in 2009 on the strength of four wins, before rewriting the MotoGP record books with his stunning 2010.

Dani Pedrosa took the runners-up spot behind Lorenzo, a massive 138 points behind, with Rossi claiming third, a remarkable finish given he feared for his future after smashing his leg in an accident in Mugello.

Rossi has waved goodbye to Yamaha after a 46-race relationship with the Italian moving to Ducati in 2011.

Lorenzo led a Spanish cleansweep of titles, with his compatriots Toni Elias, on a Moriwaki, and Marc Marquez (Derbi), emerging triumphant in the Moto2 and 125cc divisions.

While Marquez wrapped up the first ever running of the Moto2 crown, formerly 250cc, Marquez only crossed the line on the last race of the season in Valencia, the teenager clinching the crown with 310 points, to edge another Spaniard, Nicolas Terol, by just 15 points.

The year would have been marked down as a vintage campaign if it hadn’t been for Shoya Tomizawa’s tragic death, the 19-year-old Japanese rider succumbing to injuries sustained in a dreadful crash in the San Marino Moto2 Grand Prix on September 5.

Rossi led the tributes.

“Shoya Tomizawa was a very good rider. He was funny, always smiling with a kind word for everyone. He was also very young, with a great career ahead of him.”