That first victory in Ducati colours will have to wait at least one more week for Jorge Lorenzo after the Majorcan’s hopes of challenging for the victory in the rain at Motegi soon came undone.

After his customary lightening start, Lorenzo soon found he had no rear grip in difficult conditions, with it affecting him in particular on corner entry and mid-turn. He soon fell down the order, circulating at the bottom of the top ten for the first half of the race.

Improvements would come, as the Majorcan adjusted his riding style in an attempt to warm up his rear tyre, but the 30-year old could do no better than sixth place, 24 seconds back of race winner Andrea Dovizioso – a far shout from where his pace across free practice suggested he would place.

“Well in the warm-up I already felt in the last three laps when it started raining heavily I didn’t have any confidence on the rear,” said Lorenzo. “I needed to drop the pace so much. We tried to modify the setting of the bike to put more weight on the rear to gain more grip with heavy water.

“But from lap two I already felt like I had no grip. The other riders catch me very quickly – much more quickly than other races and when they overtook me I could see in the entry of the corner and mid-corner they had much more confidence. I was very tense and very slow.

“Then in the middle of the race I tried to push a bit more with the throttle, I tried to slide and create more temperature in the tyre. I improved a little bit my pace but always slower than Marquez and Dovizioso. I was 24 seconds from the winner.

“It’s a shame. It’s a shame because I expected to fight this time of the victory. Instead we were very slow. I think it was because of that: our setting; my riding in these conditions with so much water, which didn’t allow me to be fast. Maybe next time we need to put even more weight on the rear to see what happens.

“Also Michelin at the last moment take out the front soft. We go with the medium so this affects a little bit more my race because I’m braking a bit more smooth than Marquez and Dovizioso. But the main problem was the rear.”

Lorenzo’s showing was at odds with that of team-mate Dovizioso, who claimed a superb victory in a nail-biting last lap duel with Marc Marquez. The Majorcan was full of praise for the Italian, and said he will attempt to aid his quest for a first MotoGP title if he can.

“He re-opened again the championship in a very difficult situation because a win from Marquez would make his chances very difficult,” he said. “But he was cold enough and so determined to wait as always for the right moment to attack. I don’t have any words to say about him.

“He’s doing amazing. Five victories, no mistakes. He lose a lot of points in Argentina with the crash from Aleix. If not he’d be leading the championship. I just wish him the best. If I could help him to win the title, I will do it. Congratulations to him. It was a really fantastic ride.”

 

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