Just when Jorge Lorenzo was reaping the benefits of the hard wet rear tyre, he suddenly pulled into the pits during Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP.

Taken at face value it looked like a calamitous decision, which certainly caught his Movistar Yamaha team off-guard: Only a lap earlier Lorenzo (in tenth) had been the fastest rider on track, while Bradley Smith had just proven conditions were not dry enough for a change to slick tyres.

But after the race, Lorenzo revealed he had been forced to pit not because he wanted slicks but because - like a number of other riders - he was losing chunks of rubber from his soft wet front tyre.

"Seven laps before the end the front tyre tore up, but when I stopped the [damaged part of the tyre] was on the tarmac," Lorenzo said. "So the front tyre looked perfect. It was only when they moved the bike that they understood a piece of the tyre was missing. That's probably why Ramon [Forcada, crew chief] didn't understand why I wanted to change the bike."

Any chance of even scoring points then evaporated when Lorenzo was forced to pit for a second time and return on his wet bike, leaving him 17th.

"I changed to slicks, but the track was too wet, so it was really really dangerous. I just wanted to finish the lap and change the bike again.

"It was very bad luck we couldn't finish the race with this tyre - like Dovizioso, like Iannone - because I was probably the fastest rider in that moment, together with Cal and Rossi. And I feel I could have been even faster and finished surely third, maybe even second.

"Rossi was unlucky in Mugello and I was very unlucky today. We have to work to not have more tyre mishaps in the future.

"It shouldn't happen. You can have degradation, especially on the sides, but you shouldn't lose pieces of the tyre. Michelin are working really hard, I know that. I'm conscious that they have worked to improve the feeling of the front slick, and they got that. They also solved the problem with pieces from the rear slick. But this time it was the wet tyre which had the problem."

Team-mate Valentino Rossi - who started on the same tyres and also dropped outside the top ten in the early stages, as riders on soft rubber streaked ahead - went on to finish in second place.

The Italian has now also taken second away from Lorenzo in the world championship standings.

Cal Crutchlow won Sunday's race using hard wet tyres front and rear. The Englishman was the only rider to set a lap time faster than Lorenzo, but the end result meant the fact Lorenzo regained his wet weather speed was of little consolation.

"Jorge's race was impressive. Without the problem of the front tyre, he could have been on the podium," said team director Massimo Meregalli.

Instead Lorenzo is now 59 points behind Marc Marquez, who finished third, but just six points from Rossi.

Given the gap to Marquez, is he now fighting Rossi for second in the standings?

"I want to be champion. I'm proud to stay in the last eight years first or second in the championship, third in in 2014. But I really want to win. I'm just thinking about riding at my best and getting the best result that we can do. Then after the race we see the standings, and we see where we are.

"Marquez has mostly taken the best results he can get in all the tracks. So he's doing a really good job with the bike he has. And we've been unlucky. For Rossi, the bad luck was to break the engine in Mugello. For me some bad luck like today and also not being competitive enough in the rain at other tracks.

"So this makes M?rquez much more in front in the points."

By Peter McLaren



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