Valentino Rossi past his best, says MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo

Valentino Rossi (left) and Jorge Lorenzo (right) are Yamaha team-mates

Valentino Rossi (left) and Jorge Lorenzo (right) are Yamaha team-mates

New MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo has accused Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi of sour grapes after Sunday’s decider.

Lorenzo secured his fifth world title after main rival Rossi, forced to start from the back of the grid after appearing to kick Marc Marquez in the previous race in Malaysia, could only finish fourth in Valencia.

“It’s obvious there are younger riders who are faster than him,” said Lorenzo who won seven races to Rossi’s four.

“It must be frustrating not to have the speed that would have allowed him to win more races and arrive in Valencia with a greater advantage.

“We don’t know what will happen in the future but probably, just as will happen to me, this was his last chance to be world champion.”

Rossi boasts the longest winning career in Grand Prix history with a span of 19 years between his first triumph in 1996 in the 125cc category and his most recent MotoGP victory in August.

Next February he will be 37, the same age as the oldest champion in the top category – Britain’s Leslie Graham who won the inaugural 500cc championship of 1949 after a career interrupted by wartime.

Rossi has said he will race on next season but 2015 may well prove to have been the final flourish of a man who ranks as the greatest rider of the modern era with nine world championships including seven in the premier class.

Lorenzo (middle) celebrates with Marc Marquez (left) and Dani Pedrosa at the weekend

Lorenzo (middle) celebrates with Marc Marquez (left) and Dani Pedrosa at the weekend

Only compatriot Giacomo Agostini, who raced from 1964 to 1977, has won more.

Rossi showed his class on Sunday when he carved through the field from last place to fourth but was unable to get close to the leading three Spaniards – Lorenzo and Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

He later accused the trio of a cosy agreement to ‘stitch up’ the result and ensure one Spaniard handed over the title to another, and did not attend the prize-giving gala evening.

Outgoing champion Marquez, already a double MotoGP title winner at the age of 22, did attend the event.

The Spaniard has become Rossi’s arch-enemy, with the two clashing several times and the Italian accusing the Honda rider of helping Lorenzo and acting like his ‘bodyguard’.

Lorenzo, whistled on the podium by the sizeable contingent of Rossi supporters in the Valencia crowd, suggested the bad blood had an easy explanation.

Lorenzo has won three MotoGP titles

Lorenzo has won three MotoGP titles

“None of this controversy and comments would have happened if Valentino had the speed of Marc, of myself, and had won more races,” the 28-year-old added.

“With a bit more speed and consistency, and without what happened at Sepang, he could have arrived in Valencia with a clear advantage and won the championship comfortably.

“It was not like that and he knows that he let slip this year the opportunity to win his 10th championship and that is hard to accept.”

The two riders, whose relationship was once so poor that a wall divided them in the Yamaha garage, will be together again next season but Lorenzo felt sure they could get along just as they had previously done.

“I’m sure that next year things will improve and there will still be mutual respect,” he said.

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