While the television images from the Valencia test showed a wide smile and relaxed demeanour, Jorge Lorenzo was contractually obliged to refrain from commenting on his early experiences with Ducati until the beginning of 2017.

Speaking soon after Ducati's official MotoGP launch in Bologna, Lorenzo gave his views on goals for the year ahead, the need to change his very particular riding style, and whether old team-mate Valentino Rossi's Ducati record is of any significance.

On his first impressions of the Ducati...
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.

On his expectations for 2017...
Well, nobody knows the future but I don't think I'm going to fail. 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.

On deciding on Cristian Gabarrini as his new crew chief...
Yeah, we had some options - not so many - about the crew chief. Cristian was one name in my head to work with. I was many years with Ramon and he was also one of the options. But I had sincerely quite clear in my mind that I had to change and Cristian from what I had heard from some people was that he is a good guy, also a good professional, and a kind man. So this is very important for working. He had done a great job with Casey especially, but also with some other riders. He has the experience, the passion and the patience to work together and achieve our goal.

On whether he will have to change his style to suit the Ducati...
It depends and we come back again to the example of the 250s. [I rode] two different bikes. The Honda, I needed to brake much later and less corner speed. The Aprilia was the opposite really. With it you couldn't brake so late. With this bike [the Ducati] it will probably be something similar. It has another [type of] engine, with a lot more power on the straight and with more stability. If your faster than before but have good stability maybe you can brake at the same point. But I will keep more or less the same DNA; that is precision, focus, smoothness and corner speed with the Ducati.

On whether tyres could upset him in the same way as 2016...
Well it's normal that we have some problems with the tyres because Michelin has been out of the championship for so long and it's not easy, with these bikes that are so powerful, big and heavy we couldn't expect to have no problems and no tracks. But after one year of experience and after they got over the problems they had at the beginning, and all the experience that they take, I'm sure they will bring more suitable tyres to each track of the championship and they will not have these problems. We will have more grip, more durability and less graining and these type of problems that we got, especially in 2016.

I think, of course, the manufacturer of tyre changed so they will change. They way you have to ride the bike changes, especially the way, for example, you ride in the wet. This, with the electronics, created more winners, instability with results with the top riders. But I'm sure with more stable tyres or better tyres at each track this will make sure we'll have results that are more like what we saw three or four years ago.

On whether he is looking at Valentino Rossi's record at Ducati for inspiration...
My goal is not to try and improve the result of Valentino. That was another period in different years, with other people in Ducati. Not all, but a lot of people were different. And now, the bike is different, the tyres are different. Now it's a different team. The riders are different and the responses are different and probably [there is] a different performance of the bike. I don't compare. I don't compare and I don't fix my attention on what happened in the past.

Comments

Loading Comments...