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Page last updated at 05:23 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 06:23 UK

Rossi absence cheapens championship - Jorge Lorenzo

British MotoGP, Silverstone
Date: 19-20 June
Saturday 19 June: Qualifying: 1150-1505, BBC Red Button/online Sunday 20 June: Moto2: 1100-1215, BBC Red Button/online, Race live: 1215-1415, BBC Two/online ; 125cc: 1400-1500, BBC Red Button/online


World championship leader Jorge Lorenzo
Lorenzo led Rossi in the standings when the Italian had his accident

MotoGP world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo says winning the world title this year will be a lesser achievement because of Valentino Rossi's absence.

Seven-time world champion Rossi, Lorenzo's main rival, will miss a large part of the season after breaking his leg at last week's Italian Grand Prix.

"Winning a title's always great but without him maybe the championship has lost a bit of value," said Lorenzo.

"I want to be world champion with Valentino on the track."

Lorenzo was speaking ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the first race since Rossi's shocking crash at his home race in Mugello.

606: DEBATE
denwyn

Rossi and Lorenzo are Fiat Yamaha team-mates and fierce rivals.

Coming into the race at Mugello, the Spaniard had won successive races and was hoping to make it three in a row on his team-mate's back door.

Lorenzo said he did not know if this added pressure had played on Rossi's mind, but he took pride from the fact that unlike rivals who had beaten Rossi in previous years, he had managed to gain the upper hand on the Italian in their short-lived 2010 rivalry by racing him on equal terms.

"When he lost the [2006] championship to [Nicky] Hayden, he lost because he crashed in the last race .He lost to Casey [Stoner in 2007] because Casey had a better bike and better tyres.

"The situation this year was different - he had a team-mate with the same bike and he lost two races. At least before his crash, I was in front of him."

Lorenzo paid tribute to Rossi with a message from the grid at Mugello, and also on the podium following his second place-finish behind Dani Pedrosa.

He said his own experience of crashing and being injured meant he took no pleasure in his rival's misfortune.

"I have been injured a lot - I know the pain you feel and how sad you are in hospital, so for this I have a present for him on the grid and on the podium - an opportunity to make him smile."

Ducati rider Hayden is a previous beneficiary of Rossi's misfortune, when the Italian's crash in the final race of the 2006 season handed the American the title, and he agreed with Lorenzo that Rossi's absence would take the gloss off the 2010 world title.

"I try not to get caught up in ifs and buts, good or bad, but whoever wins will feel a bit less because the guy who has won so many wasn't out there," said the American.

"But that's how it goes - he made a mistake.

"The sports's better with him in it - hopefully him missing this season might add a couple of years on to his career as he's done so much for it. On the track he's raised the level, off the track, he's a showman."



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see also
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
18 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts MotoGP Q&A
17 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Ducati close to winning - Hayden
17 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi coy over team plan for 2011
11 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi begins recovery from injury
11 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Pedrosa storms to Mugello victory
06 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi sidelined with broken leg
06 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
MotoGP on the BBC
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP standings
31 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
MotoGP calendar 2011
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
Contact the motorbikes TV team
06 Mar 07 |  MotoGP


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