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MotoGP France: Lorenzo: Ducati unbelievably good in 50/50 conditions

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo was raving over the performance of the Desmosedici GP17 in FP1 at Le Mans in France.
Jorge Lorenzo says he felt 'better than ever' in the rain in FP1 at Le Mans before deteriorating conditions in the afternoon slowed his progress on the Ducati.

The Spaniard, who celebrated his maiden rostrum on the Desmosedici at Jerez in Spain, was raving over the performance of the GP17 in the morning session, when he finished 16th fastest and 4.4 seconds down on Jack Miller's time on the Marc VDS Honda. He ended the day in 17th place overall on the combined time sheets, setting his best lap in 1m 41.947s.

“The quantity of water [was the difference between FP1 and FP2]. Quite opposite feelings. In the morning I felt I would say better than ever in the rain, it was half-half, it was quite dry or not so much water and I felt unbelievably good on the bike. In fact, pushing, I was first, second, first, very easy,” Lorenzo said.

“I believe our setting of today was good for a low quantity of water. With that quantity of water the lap times were very close to the dry, that setting, so that means that this bike can be very good on the dry tomorrow.

“We decided to keep the setting for the afternoon, but with a lot of water probably we needed more rear grip, rear weight to feel better on braking, to feel better on the throttle because I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel grip with the rear.

“So I was slow, I did a lot of laps to warm up the tyre and tomorrow it happens again, these conditions, for sure we will change completely the setting.”

Lorenzo said Friday's wet practice sessions had given him the opportunity to learn more about the Ducati in such conditions and had represented a 'lesson learnt for the future'.

“Yeah, it's been a great opportunity to learn in rain conditions because we could test just one practice at Jerez, we don't have so much information about the settings, what kind of settings work for a low quantity of water, high quantity of water and today has been a lesson to learn for the future.”

Last year, he struggled with the front Michelin tyre on the Yamaha in half dry, half wet conditions, and admitted his confidence had suffered as a result.

“It's true that I have maybe too much bad experience in 50-50 conditions with slicks. I had big crashes, crashes that I got injured. I take much more time than most of the riders to be aggressive and to push in the corners,” he said.

“So that is a problem because if you don't warm up the tyre you won't have the speed and the risk of a crash is even more. It's quite difficult to exit. Today I put new tyres with seven minutes, or five minutes before the end of the practice and to be honest I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel good.

“I didn't improve because I wasn't going to improve the lap time I did with the warm tyres. Let's see if next time I can get a faster feeling.”

Le Mans has been resurfaced since last year and Lorenzo but Lorenzo says he will need to ride the track in completely dry conditions to have understand how the work has affected the track.

“Unfortunately in the dry we couldn't test, completely dry, the track had a lot of patches of water. We were 10 or 15 seconds slower than the real lap times,” Lorenzo said.

“On the wet, with a lot of water, sliding grip more than on the normal tracks, with not so much water it was like the dry. Very similar to the dry. It depends on the quantity of water.

“For sure, new tarmac is always more difficult to dry out the track. It needs much more time. In some areas it's completely dry, in some areas it's still wet and you need to be careful and change the lean angle with a lot of braking and the riding style, you cannot push the same.”

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Tagged as: Lorenzo , Miller

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