Jorge Lorenzo was delighted to claim a podium finish on his Bridgestone debut in Monday night's Qatar MotoGP season-opener, but also alarmed at the distance between himself and top two finishers Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi.
Lorenzo, second to Stoner on his MotoGP debut last season, began his first race on Japanese tyres just behind the two title favourites - and finished in that same position 22 laps later, with some exciting moments in-between.
“I am so happy to be on the podium tonight, I really enjoyed some parts of the race when I made some good overtakes and felt confident enough to take some risks,” smiled Lorenzo. “The grip of the track was better tonight but my rear tyre was moving from the start, so this is something we need to address and improve.”
However, Lorenzo's joy was tempered by the time difference between himself, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi at the end of the race; Stoner was 16.2sec in front and Rossi 8.5sec ahead of the Spaniard.
“Apart from the result and the points it is clear we have some work to do because our pace tonight was too far off Rossi and especially Stoner. The gap is too big!” he declared. “After yesterday's crazy weather I am really happy we could race, it was very important for everyone and now we have got the season underway with a good result, my aim is to be much closer to the leaders in Motegi.”
“It is clear that we have some hard work to do in order to close the gap on the leaders and that we need to improve our setting further, so this will be our target for Motegi,” said team manager Daniele Romagnoli. “Well done to everyone for the effort to get the race run tonight, it was very important to have the chance to compete.”