Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo says this year's Americas Grand Prix in Austin offers the best chance to break Marc Marquez's monopoly of the premier class races in the USA.
Marquez has won every race he has started at the Circuit of the Americas and in Indianapolis and at Laguna Seca since 2013, but MotoGP world champion Lorenzo feels his advantage on the Honda at CoTA has been reduced and the Mallorcan appears optimistic of challenging the 23-year-old for victory on Sunday.
Lorenzo, who was only 0.069s behind pole man Marquez in qualifying to seal second place on the front row, said: “I knew it was really important to be on the first row and I gave my best as always and I did a great first lap because the other riders needed some more time to be fast.
“I was quite proud with my first lap time and with my second tyre I didn't expect to improve half-a-second more and get so close to Marc, who is always very strong and dominating always all the practice here.
“Now, little by little, we improve so much the bike and we make a great setting for the Yamaha with the team. It was a pity because with a small step we could be in the first position but second place is a good place to start and we are very happy because the evolution from the first practice is huge,” he added.
“As I told you before if there is one year that we can make a good result or come close, or even win, it is this year. Marc here feels so comfortable from 2015 and he is making the difference from all the other Honda riders who seem to have some troubles to be competitive and fast.
“It looks like it is not an easy bike to be fast, but he is for the moment making the difference and especially for this track that he likes.”
Lorenzo stressed that the gap between the Honda and Yamaha had closed as a result of improvements made in braking with the YZR-M1 and also said he wasn't experiencing the same level of rear-wheel spin with the Michelin tyre.
“Unbeatable is not anyone, you have to make a race and finish the race and anything can happen with these new tyres and you have some engine failure, or crash or make a mistake, or not feel comfortable on Sunday – anything can happen,” Lorenzo said.
“I don't think Marc is getting worse for sure and normally when you have more experience you get better and better in all senses. He is still very young so I don't think he loses on any aspect, but I think for example on braking we improve so much compared to 2013 and already from the end of 2014.
“We are better here and especially with the Michelin we are better because we don't spin on acceleration. I think we are close to the Honda in this particular track.”
Tyre choice is expected to prove critical on Sunday over a long and demanding race distance at CoTA bur Lorenzo was keeping his cards close to his chest over his decision.
“I'm quite convinced with the decision and we will see what happens because it is a very long race,” he said.
“Tyres will be a key factor tomorrow because some riders can decide different options and it's not going to be like in Argentina when almost everyone went with the same tyres.”
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