By Stephen English

Jorge Lorenzo felt that a problem with his rear tyre was the cause of his disastrous French MotoGP at Le Mans.

The Spaniard struggled throughout the wet race with a lack of grip and confidence, causing him to drop from second to ninth, before mistakes by Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi and LCR's Stefan Bradl raised him to seventh.

"I think that the rear tyre was not right," said the reigning world champion. "This is the main problem.

"We tried it in the [wet] warm-up for only one lap, to clean up the tyre for the race, and at that moment I thought that something was not good. But we thought that it was maybe the set-up of the bike, which was for the dry.

"The other bike was set-up for the rain so we thought that it just was the setting. After thinking and thinking about it now, I think that it [the race problem] was the rear tyre."

Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg also admitted it was "a bad day at the office" for his rider, while Lorenzo outlined the exact difficulties he faced during the race:

"In the entry to corner it felt like I was on ice and the rear was locking. In the middle of the corner I had no grip and the traction was spinning and spinning.

"Every corner was a nightmare and I thought I was crashing and crashing. Last year I won in the wet by [10] seconds and the bike is more or less similar so I don't see anything other than the tyre causing the problem."

The grip issues meant that, after being fastest in the wet morning warm-up, Lorenzo only set the ninth quickest lap in the race.

"I tried everything [to avoid wheel spin] I tried to shift up quickly and to use 50% throttle. In any lap of the race I couldn't get close to my fastest lap from the warm up.

"Normally I go much faster in the race than in the warm up. This is racing and sometimes it happens to you. Today we had the wrong tyre."

While Lorenzo and Yamaha took victory at the opening round in Qatar, Honda riders have now won the three races since - allowing Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez to pull clear of Lorenzo in the standings.

"The Honda is in extremely good form and the riders, Dani is really focussed and doing a great job and Marquez being a rookie is doing an extremely good job without mistakes," said Lorenzo.

"But their bike is working better than our bike at this moment. Today was unique in special conditions and I believe that the tyre was the problem."

Lorenzo is now 17 points behind Le Mans winner Pedrosa after four of 18 rounds.


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