Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo says the factory Ducati riders can have a significant impact on the title outcome over the final eight races of the season.
Andrea Iannone claimed the Italian manufacturer's first MotoGP victory since 2010 in Austria, heading up a one-two at the Red Bull Ring from Andrea Dovizioso to raise expectations that the Desmosedici machines will be fighting regularly at the front.
And Lorenzo, who returned to the rostrum in third place in Austria to make up some ground on championship leader Marc Marquez, believes the Ducatis have the potential to be in the mix from this point onwards.
“At this moment, they have made a great step forward and I don't think they are just fast in Qatar or in Austria, but they can be fast also in most of the tracks: maybe not to dominate as they did in Austria but to fight for the victory. This could be good for me, or not but for sure maybe next year it will be good,” said Lorenzo, who will team up with Dovizioso at Ducati in 2017.
“Now that the Ducatis are competitive you can go from first position to fifth, so you can lose a lot of points or you can recover a lot of points, so this will be very interesting in the last races and we hope to stay on the front and recover as many points as possible.
“The one who will get more points [will win title]. It doesn't matter how you get it but the one who gets more points will be the champion,” said the Movistar Yamaha rider.
“Obviously Marc has 43 points of advantage but as I said, you have six or maybe seven riders with a chance of a win and this can create a big variation in points in just a few races, so it is important always to make your maximum in every race and try to stay on the podium until the end of the championship. Obviously if you have a disadvantage of 43 points you have to try to win as many races as possible.”
Lorenzo received a confidence boost after taking third place in Austria and is aiming to build on his podium result this weekend at Brno in the Czech Republic, where he expects to be strong.
“It was very important because two races without any good results is a lot and I needed this good result to feel again strong. Now we arrive at a track that historically is good for Yamaha, especially for my riding with the change of direction, which is one of my strong points,” he said.
“Also you need to be very precise and smooth and I also have this, so let's see if the theory matches the reality this weekend and we can be there fighting to win and recover some more points to Marc.”
Referring to Marquez's practice crash in Austria, Lorenzo says he is mindful that the title landscape can change in an instant.
“In MotoGP with these bikes, so powerful and heavy, you can get injured very soon, so you need to be careful and have some margins. Everything can happen to any rider at any moment.
“Also in this moment the tyres can change dramatically change the pace and one moment you can dominate and win the race, the next one you are fifth.”