For the opening four laps of the Italian Grand Prix it appeared Jorge Lorenzo had found a way to maximise the strengths of his Ducati, but ultimately the 30-year old soon came to realise he is too soon into this new adventure to challenge MotoGP's current elite.

"You don't learn a new language in two days," was the Majorcan's neat means of explaining his current predicament. Having expected a podium challenge at the least, Lorenzo was at least able to pinpoint the afternoon's failings with a good deal of clarity after a below par eighth place finish.

Despite a stunning start, and sensational first three laps, during which he led for the first time in Ducati colours, Lorenzo began losing ground as he tried to attack Mugello's 15 bends as he would if aboard his familiar Yamaha M1.

The 30-year old's lines were too wide and swooping, he said, and when he attempted to accelerate, Lorenzo did so early. Ducati's turning deficiencies mean he was often pushed wider than anticipated, leaving him exposed and vulnerable to attacks.

"I wasn't fast enough," Lorenzo admitted, having finished 14 seconds back of team-mate and race winner Andrea Dovizioso. "I have more top speed and I was very brave, but I wasn't fastest. First [flying] lap I was in 1m 48.8, quite slow, 1m 48.6 next lap. So not a high pace.

"But obviously I made a good start, I was third in the first corner and the top speed in sixth gear especially was a lot faster than the other bikes so I could arrive in turn one in first position.

"So I was thinking, 'OK in FP4 I was one of the guys with better pace'. So I tried to do the same, but Rossi didn't allow me. He overtook me, especially in the middle of the corners.

"I've been overtaken in the middle of the corners five or six times, which is unusual for me. Also in practice Zarco overtook me there. So it's clear my weak point now is this, I'm too slow [and], too open and they have much [more] corner speed.

"The second problem is even if I try everything - lot of settings, lot of way of riding - I still don't take profit from the strong points of the bike, which is the entry of the corners.

"I still prefer too much the exit, but this doesn't compensate for what I lose entering the corners. Riders like Dovi or Petrucci who are hard brakers, at this moment the bike works better for them."

As well as being open about his current struggles, Lorenzo was philosophical. Adapting to a bike with such different characteristics as what he rode for eight years was always going to take time. "Believe me, I'm trying everyting," he assured the assembled press.

"The Yamaha bike worked, especially here... probably was more natural for my riding. With the Yamaha I was fast from the first three races in 2008. Here I finished on the podium for eight years.

"For the moment [the Ducati] is not natural for me, even if I try my best and am a more complete rider than when I started in MotoGP. But probably is the opposite riding style that the bike demands at this moment.

"So I'm working with Gigi and the engineers to make the bike turn better, but until this happens it will depend a lot on which track and also will be important to see the speed that I am able to change my riding.

"Believe me I'm trying everything, to take the maximum of this bike. Change the position on every race, the hand levers, rear brake, the seat. Try to see all the data of all the Ducati riders to see where I lose. I try everything.

"But 20 years riding the same way you cannot change just like this - you cannot learn a new language in two days. This bike you have to ride it a little bit illogical to be competitive.

"It's the opposite of the Yamaha. For the moment I can do races so-so. Sometimes good races, not excellent. Normally, for the moment, so-so. When I will feel confident with the bike and the bike feels like mine I will again do excellent races."

A blemish on what was otherwise a stunning home grand prix for Ducati, there would be no sour grapes from Lorenzo, who offered up congratulations to Dovizioso and Petrucci, two of Italy's national heroes in the wake of Sunday's result.

"Obviously I'm not happy about my race, but I'm happy about him, because he deserved this victory. Petrucci is also improving a lot as a rider. I'm very happy for the team, just sad that I cannot be more faster and more competitive.

"But I will get there, sooner or later. We have to take the positive things; leading the race for the first time, I was brave and in some practice we were really competitive. Now we go to Montmelo and everything can change in a positive way."

By Neil Morrison

Want more? CLICK HERE for the MotoGP Homepage...

 

Comments

Loading Comments...