In just two months Jorge Lorenzo has seen enough from Ducati's MotoGP effort to confidently state he will “sooner or later” win races in the premier class, but warned that aiming for the title early on could undermine their collective efforts.
“Finally I can speak about it!” smiled Lorenzo when asked about his first experiences aboard the Ducati. From his reaction alone, you could sense a well of positivity, especially when touching on his early impressions at the post-seasonValencia test.
But any five-time world champion knows a thing or two about how one comes to hold that championship trophy aloft in November. This early into the project, he stressed, the Majorcan and Ducati have to put thoughts of winning the title to one side.
Instead, improving the package “day-by-day, week-by-week” has to be their collective “obsession”. Only when Ducati rightfully boast of possessing the grid's strongest package can they begin aiming for that elusive first rider's championship since 2007, he said.
“Well, nobody knows the future but I don't think I'm going to fail,” said the 30-year old, speaking soon after Ducati's MotoGP launch in Bologna.
“I'm sure I'm not. I don't know the level I will achieve soon but I'm pretty sure that sooner or later I will be competitive and I will be winning races.
“But it would be a big mistake if we just concentrated or got obsessed about the championship or becoming world champion, or to get the best result, because it's the best way to get lost and to get nervous and make mistakes.
“I think our obsession must be improving our package day-by-day and week-by-week. By the package I mean the rider, the team, the people and especially the bike. Only like that, having the best package of the category can we be world champions. So this needs to be our focus and our obsession.”
Having brilliantly won his last race in Yamaha colours two days before, Lorenzo was the centre of attention at the post-season test. He turned several heads too, quickly getting up to speed to end the first day an exceptional third fastest.
Expanding on his emotions of that morning, the three-time MotoGP champion said, “Finally I can speak about it!
“So, first of all, going onto the bike was a big shock for me. That day at Valencia I was used to seeing all blue, the same sponsorship and the same team. Finally everything was completely different.
“Speaking about the bike… Well they are two completely different philosophies for making a bike [Ducati's and Yamaha's], starting from the engine. The Ducati has a different sound, different power, but also the chassis has a different swing arm, handlebars, aerodynamics, everything is different.
“I needed a couple of laps to really understand where I was. For sure, especially the first time I went flat out on the straight in fifth and sixth gear, it was an unbelievable feeling and I had a smile on my face. The first impression is always important and the first impression was great.”