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Phillip Island MotoGP Test: Lorenzo eighth, ‘still needs more time’

Jorge Lorenzo makes big steps with softer tyres on final day at Phillip Island; “I still have a long way to go to arrive at the maximum of the bike.”
He may have worn a grimace through most of the morning and afternoon, but Jorge Lorenzo insisted he was content with his overall performance on the final day of MotoGP testing at Phillip Island, after posting the eighth fastest time of the test.

Ducati's new big money recruit had admitted to struggling more than at Valencia and Sepang on the first two days of the Australian test, but a greater understanding of the new machine, and new, softer tyres led to Lorenzo achieving his goals.

Dropping his lap time into the 1m 29s was one, as was posting a succession of laps in the 1m 30s. Lorenzo did both on Friday, with his personal best time of 1m 29.342s just 0.1s slower than team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and seven tenths off first.

“My goal was to improve the feeling and understand more the way to get a bit closer to the maximum with the bike we have, and we did this goal,” he said.

“Also my goal was to be in the 1'29s constantly, and we also did this, a lot of laps in 1'30 low. Good day today. We know more or less what we have to do for the future to improve the bike, to make a more complete bike.

“And I still have a long way to go to arrive at my maximum with the bike we have. Probably at another track, different circumstances, more grip, different tyres it could be more different than here, so we have to keep positive. Today was a good day.

“Everything can happen at Qatar. In Sepang, it was easier than here, we had some difficulties here until we got the new tyres, that gave us more grip and solve half of the problems. Qatar with soft tyres and theoretically a good track for Ducati, we can be competitive.

“I don't know if it will be enough to fight for the victory, because still it's too soon, and the other rivals made a big step forward, especially Viñales and Márquez, Honda and Yamaha, and we don't have the wings from last year, but it could be much better than here, I believe.”

Lorenzo was certainly more upbeat when speaking to the media on Friday evening than the day before, when he detailed lacking that extra something that would put him more at ease on Ducati's GP17.

Compared to Maverick Viñales and Marc Marquez, the undoubted stars of the week, Lorenzo was still some way off in terms of outright pace and consistency, but Ducati's issues with manoeuvrability was in part to blame.

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was not as enthused as the Majorcan, complaining of the new bike's difficulties with turning around Phillip Island's high-speed curves. Their difference in mood, Lorenzo explained, was due to the Italian finding the bike's limits sooner than him.

“Well, [Dovizioso] arrived at his limit with this bike faster than me, on the first day, and I took more time. So I feel much more the improvement. Probably we were working in different areas, different needs. Today, more than the bike, we improved more understanding to get closer to the maximum, and we did that.

“As I told you before, my goal was to stay in mid-1'29s for a lot of laps, and we did that, more or less for ten laps, and the others in 1'30 low. So it's a good progression, but obviously, we are not in the level to fight for the win, but we can be at other tracks.

“So we have to keep working to make the bikes more complete in all the tracks, in all circumstances, with all the tyres. But also we need to wait for other tracks.”

On improving his riding style at this track, he continued, “Still it's very difficult for me, because they are completely different bikes, they need the opposite way to ride, the opposite way to take the maximum from the bike.

“Ducati doesn't have corner speed for the moment, so you need to keep braking a lot of time, and you need to be aggressive with the throttle, on-off. It's a completely different way of riding.

“So little by little I am starting to understand this much better, especially today, but I still need more time and more kilometers to take the maximum with this bike. But for sure I want to improve the bike to turn better in the future.”

And, seeing Viñales speed to the fastest time on his old bike had left him with no regrets: “No, I don't regret anything about my decision [to leave Yamaha], I'm very happy.

“They all treat me very well, I feel very good with the team, they are very professional, I feel very good with Cristian [Gabarrini – new crew chief] especially. So I'm very, very happy.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lorenzo, Phillip Island MotoGP Test, February 2017
Marquez, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Crutchlow, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Crutchlow, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Crutchlow, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Crutchlow, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Rossi, Dovizioso, Petrucci, Marquez Dutch MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo entering pits to change tyres, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Petrucci Dutch MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Crutchlow Dutch MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Crutchlow Dutch MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Dovizioso, Crutchlow Dutch MotoGP 2017

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michael m

February 19, 2017 3:56 AM

Codger: We have to bare in mind that the 2007 Ducati was far and away the best bike on the grid. The Japanese bikes caught up and the Ducati has declined ever since. I think that 2017 will be difficult for them and I just hope that Dovi finishes the season as the top Ducati rider.
The 2017 Ducati was far and away the best bike on the grid if you could ride it. No evidence exists or will ever exist that anyone other than Stoner could ride it as he did.


February 20, 2017 10:10 AM

Codger: "He said that about the 2008 bike on first encountering it." Of course you are right, thank you for not jumping on me Michael. It is worth repeating that the 2006 bike could win races too. The overwhelming point for me is that Casey went from crashing all over the place in 2006 to not falling off at all in 2007.
In his book he explains the issues he had with the Michelins all year at LCR and how Michelin gave certain tyres to certain teams. Repsols tyres were better than LCR etc. He also speculates that Valencia 2006 Rossi had a tyre mixup with another team...

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