Jorge Lorenzo's weakness when riding with slicks on a damp track returned to haunt him in Sunday's Dutch MotoGP.

The five-time world champion had made steady progress up the order from 21st on the grid, after a wet qualifying, peaking at twelfth on lap 18 of 26.

But with light rain started falling the Spaniard's pace dropped from a best of 1m 35.348s to 1m 45.616s. For comparison, Ducati team-mate Dovizioso's slowest race lap was a 1m 40.197s.

Deciding he had little to lose, Lorenzo gambled on a pit stop to change to his wet bike. But the rain drifted away and he was left to finish one-lap down, in 15th.

"I was losing half-a-second to the fastest ones in general, but I was really consistent," Lorenzo said of his dry pace. "I was catching Iannone and getting a bit closer to the other group, Miller and Pedrosa.

"But when it starting spitting, I started to lose my pace so much. Much more than the ones in front and behind, they overtook me, I was 14th and I said 'ok, I have nothing to lose, maybe one or two points'. So I took this gamble [to pit]. But it didn't rain more. It stopped raining and the rain tyres were too soft for those conditions.

"It was a gamble, knowing that in the warm-up it started to rain and then rained heavily. I was 14th so had nothing to lose. Maybe one point. But I could get seven or eight points more if it worked.

"Also I was losing five-seconds per lap with slicks. So another three or four riders would have overtook me anyway if I kept riding."

Lorenzo added that Assen hasn't been a great track for him in general, with only one podium in the last seven years. However Lorenzo was lapping in the 1m 35s until lap 17, at around the pace of Jack Miller in sixth.

"This track, apart from 2015 when I finished third, and with the mixed conditions, have probably been the worst weekends I had with the Yamaha over the last three or four years. Also starting 21st today didn't help.

"But in dry conditions, knowing all the circumstances, I wasn't so bad: In a hard weekend we didn't lose more than half-a-second on pace. So I expect that in a good weekend, at a good track for me, which could be in Sachsenring, I can reduce this half-a-second and improve on the nine-seconds to victory in Montmelo.

"But obviously with the slicks and wet conditions I don't feel well, I don't know where the limit is and I'm very slow. I'm not a specialist in these conditions. I lose too much."

Team-mate Dovizioso finished fifth and now leads the world championship standings.

By Peter McLaren

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