Jorge Lorenzo believes he is adapting to the Ducati GP17race-by-race, with the Majorcan stating he is having to think less about riding as the months pass by, but there is still something missing, as he searches for that first win of the year.

The 30-year old, who has climbed the podium twice in his first year with the Bologna manufacturer, believes that as we enter the season’s final stage he is now between 0.1s and 0.3s off the fastest pace per weekend, as opposed to between 0.7s and 1s, as witnessed at the beginning of the season.

The fact Lorenzo is having to think less about his riding while on the bike is a sign things are becoming more natural aboard the GP17, a clear sign of adaption.

And the five-time world champion feels the early laps of the Japanese Grand Prix, where he lost positions at a rapid rate as he sunk down the top ten, was because he became flustered, and was thinking too much about his actions in the melee around him, which in turn led to a drop in speed.

“At Yamaha, when I had the same pace, or better, than my rivals, I was able to escape because I was so quick in the opening laps, and they wouldn’t be able to catch me after,” said Lorenzo on Thursday. “Here, I’m still able to do good laps but I don’t have a superior pace to the others. In fact, sometimes it’s a little worse and they end up catching me.

“We’re recovering tenths here and there. At the start of the year we were 0.7s or one second slower and now we’re between 0.1 and 0.3 off, depending on the track. We’ll see whether these tenths disappear here this weekend.

“Each time I’m on the bike, I have to think less, but it’s true that there is still something that is holding me back from riding totally naturally.

“For example, in Japan, those laps when I was going a bit slower, it was because I had just been passed by five or six riders in quick succession. I started to think too much and I lost that natural feeling.

“It took me a few laps to recover. The bike has improved a lot and Ducati have brought new parts that have helped me, but I still can’t take full advantage of all of my strong points.”

On how and where he might help team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in the final stage of this epic world championship fight, as he suggested he would do after the epic race in Japan, Lorenzo gave little away, saying it very much depends on his own performance.

“It depends a bit on the circumstances in the race, and just how much I can help Dovi,” he said. “To do this, we’d need to be faster than Marquez and Dovizioso, which isn’t easy. And later, we’ll see where and how and what we can give to Dovi.

“You always see things between team-mates. In Ducati we’re lucky to have three official bikes and we always use all the information from them. It’s clear they’ve taken on board a lot of what I said from when I arrived at Ducati, and from there it’s natural that it’s also benefited Dovizioso.”

Finally, Lorenzo was asked whether he felt we would see a change in tactics from Marquez in the final three races, considering he is now defending an eleven-point advantage.

“I don’t think so," came his response. 'It’s his style and if he changes it, he won’t be the Marquez that we know. He won’t be as fast. He’s used to doing these kinds of things (risking a lot), just like Dovizioso is used to being very conscious of everything. Both of them will continue doing what they’re doing.

“He [Dovizioso] showing that when it’s necessary to be brave and aggressive, he can do it. But he’s also doing it because he’s seen Marquez, and his level, that it wouldn’t be much more difficult to attack.”


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