Assen hasn't been the happiest of hunting grounds for Jorge Lorenzo in his MotoGP past and 2016 looks to be no different as the reigning world champion pointed to a poor set-up and subsequent lack of confidence for his worst Saturday performance since 2008.
Lorenzo qualified a disappointing eleventh at the close of a day which saw him fall at speed in a dry FP3, then struggle throughout qualifying as set-up changes left him with no rear grip in the wet.
For the Majorcan – so dependent on considerable grip and feel beneath him to ride at his best – Michelin's front wet tyre gave him “many closing feelings”. With his confidence shot, he admitted he felt as though he were “riding on ice” in the afternoon shootout.
“First of all, in the dry, maybe I was not as competitive as in the other races,” said the 29-year old, only once a MotoGP winner at the Dutch venue.
“But at least I could finish in the top five or six for sure. In FP4 I wasn't really bad. I just missed some confidence of the front, which was closing in the middle of all the right corners. We changed the setting to put more weight into the front to solve this problem. But we didn't do it.
“We created much more spinning on the rear. The confidence in full wet was not good in any place. Not in braking, nor in the middle of the corner, not in the acceleration of any straights. I didn't confidence in any place. It was like riding on ice or on eggshells. I tried to keep with the same tyres to see if I could gain some confidence.
“With the dry line it improved but everyone did that a lot. For example Rossi was very clever to put in the new hard rear. He improved four seconds when he was not very comfortable on the same tyre as me. But he was faster. I think maybe if we have the good setting maybe I ride fast as a rider.
On Michelin's front wet tyre, Lorenzo continued: “The front in FP4 in the rain didn't give you any confidence. There was a lot of closing feelings and when you it closed you couldn't get it back, especially in the middle of the corner with the throttle.
“It's not a good feeling like it's too hard, for the conditions and the grip of the track. It was too hard and that's why we put more weight on the front. But we didn't gain anything. We lost rear grip. Finally, at least with the other setting in FP4 we had rear grip but in qualifying I didn't feel comfortable in any part of the track.”
Lorenzo and his Movistar Yamaha squad decided to use the old M1 chassis throughout the day and will do so on Sunday. The 29-year old said he may sample the new frame that he tested on Friday again in Germany.
Andrea Iannone's grid penalty pushes Lorenzo forward one place on the grid. Aside from his heroic showing in the Netherlands in 2013 – when he sat out free practice 3 and qualifying in order to recover strength in a recently broken collarbone – eleventh represented his worst qualifying performance since he visited Brno in his rookie campaign in 2008.
Speaking of how he would approach Sunday's race, Lorenzo added, “If it's a rain race then it's not so important to start from the middle of the grid. It depends on your pace. If you have a good pace you'll recover. If you don't you'll remain or lose positions.
“In the dry the position of the grid is important and I would like to stay on the first or second row, which wasn't possible. Normally I do a good start so let's see if I can overtake one or two rows and stay in the first group.
“Always with the Yamaha it has been difficult in all the years, the lack of grip [in the wet]. With a lot of rain I've never been one of the fastest riders. When it's raining and grippy, like in Malaysia, I can be 1.5 seconds faster than everyone but there is rain and I don't trust the tyres it's not ideal. But it's important to be competitive in all the situations. Let's see what I can do.”