For some time Jorge Lorenzo had spoken of the incremental improvements aboard Ducati’s GP17 that were gradually carrying him forward. That was until four fruitful days at Brno brought the old swagger back, leading the five-time world champion to comment on Thursday, “We arrive in the best moment of the season.”

Ducati’s radical new fairing has given Lorenzo greater feel on the front end, while reducing wheelie and making it less of a battle to keep his front tyre planted on the straight. The 30-year old’s comfort, speed and aggression have all benefited, he said at the Red Bull Ring, where he starts among the pre-race favourites for the first time since, arguably, the season opener in Qatar.

Lorenzo even went as far as to say he is around “half a second faster” per lap thanks to the changes Ducati made over the summer to the GP17. It seems that, finally, the Majorcan has made that considerable step forward that, until July, he had struggled to find.

“I think we arrive in the best moment of the season, for sure,” said Lorenzo, whose previous race at Brno was ruined by communication and strategic errors, which lead to a highly frustrating 15th place finish.

“My evolution and adaptation with the bike has been better but very slow. But in the last four days, putting together the weekend and the Monday test, the improvement has been huge because the bike changed quite a bit.

“At the Monday test I was very comfortable, very fast, very aggressive. I was very happy, very satisfied. We need to wait to see at other tracks what happens but I think from now on I will be, at least, much more comfortable on the bike.

“For me, what I lose, the compensation is clear in another way. Maybe for another rider like Dovizioso or Petrucci, who have another kind of riding style, it’s not so clear for the moment.

“It can depend on the track. There are some tracks where the top speed is very important and the new fairing doesn’t compensate. In my case, I think it’s going to compensate on all the tracks because I really need to feel the front on the ground to be able to make my lines and to be able to feel really comfortable.

“But it’s not only about the fairing. It’s about other things that we made on the bike with the setting that creates much more confident and creates a huge advantage in my riding.”

Asked whether these changes provided a much-needed boost for his confidence after difficult races in the Netherlands and Germany, Lorenzo insisted the change was not psychological. Instead, the fairing and subsequent set-up changes have allowed him to ride in a way that is more familiar, more natural.

“No, it’s not a psychological aspect,” he said. “If you have the feeling and you know the bike is not going to throw you out into the air, or that you’re going to crash, and when you think you’re not going to crash, you push a little bit harder and you are faster.

“It’s not that I am scared. It’s that the front is not there and for my riding, I have a particular riding [style], I cannot be faster. I can improve little by little but the improvement is very slow until I get a bike that is working for me, no? Then the improvement is huge, like what happened lately.

“Let’s say that my limit is further. I am faster. I am half a second faster in all the laps.”


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