Three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo has accused his Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso of trying to intentionally “undermine” his morale, both currently and throughout their MotoGP careers.
Lorenzo, who enjoyed a famously difficult relationship with his previous team-mate Valentino Rossi at Yamaha, is currently in his second year alongside Dovizioso at Ducati – with both their deals up for renewal at the end of 2018.
The Spanish rider’s comments come a day after Dovizioso pointed the finger at Ducati when asked about the delay in extending his contract – and also claimed he would not be surprised if Lorenzo departed the Italian manufacturer.
“Dovi is very intelligent, isn’t he?,” Lorenzo said in an interview with Movistar. “He basically knows everything.
“Dovi has always, during my whole career, tried to undermine my morale.
“And he’s still doing it as my team-mate, that’s nothing new to me.
“He’s always trying it, if you look at him. It’s the relationship he has through the press with me. But it’s all OK.”
Lorenzo and Dovizioso were championship rivals in 125cc and 250cc over a decade ago, with the former twice defeating the latter to win the intermediate-class title.
They became MotoGP team-mates for the first time in 2017, with Lorenzo joining Ducati on a deal worth a reported €12million a year – while Dovizioso’s base salary for that same period is understood to be less than €2million.
The Italian, however, has outperformed his world champion team-mate in their time at Ducati so far, having finished runner-up to Honda’s Marc Marquez last year and currently leading the 2018 standings after his triumph in the Qatar opener.
Lorenzo continued: “He [Dovizioso] is a quiet person. We have a cordial relationship and everything is fine in that sense.
“We are here to win races and championships and friendship is found elsewhere, not in the paddock.”
On Thursday, Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi said the manufacturer was “pretty confident” of keeping hold of Dovizioso, but admitted it had not yet begun talks with Lorenzo.