Jorge Lorenzo believes an issue with his front brake was at fault for a terrifying fall that led to him leaving the first MotoGP round of 2018 in Qatar with no points on the board.

The Majorcan revealed he had no option but to jump from his Ducati GP18 at 110mph when he reached for his brake on the entry to turn four and felt nothing in the way of a response.

The Ducati man was holding tenth place at the time of the fall, but stated he had been encountering issues with the front brake as early as lap two. The lever gradually became less responsive, he said, forcing him to rely heavily on the rear brake to slow his entry to the Losail International Circuit’s 16 turns.

“A problem with the brake,” said a deflated Lorenzo of his spill. “I just felt that the level of the front brake was getting closer to my fingers and I didn’t have brake. I lost some metres so I tried to use less front brake and more the rear to try to delay this thing that was getting worse lap-by-lap.

“Unfortunately when into this turn four the first part of the brake was OK, but suddenly I just missed completely this brake so I had no brake and was going very fast through the gravel to the wall and I jumped off the bike to avoid hitting the wall.”

Upon hearing their rider’s complaints, Ducati technicians acted swiftly, travelling to the outside of the crash site to inspect the damage to his GP18. “One part” – Lorenzo would not go into specifics – was recovered, but they could not be sure whether that had dislodged before or after the crash.

“The bike came to the box without one part,” Lorenzo explained. “Some mechanics went to the corner to see if they could find it and luckily they found it – it was very difficult, but they found it. One part was out of the bike. I don’t know if it was before the crash or after the crash. What I know is that I didn’t have any brakes before [I entered the corner].”

Aside from emerging from the fall unscathed, Lorenzo pointed to another positive of the day: feeling stronger in the race’s second half than he had during the first – a relatively new experience with Ducati.

Even with the ever-worsening issues with his front brake, the 30-year old felt he was finding his feet before the crash, and believes a podium or better would have been possible, had he been able to rely on optimum braking performance throughout the 22 laps.

“As I said yesterday, everything was possible today,” he said. “We had plenty of riders going in the same pace. Luckily for me they went faster than me in the beginning. I was getting faster and faster and they were getting slower and slower.

“For the first time I felt that I had a faster second part of the race than the first. It was the first time that I felt that. But unfortunately I couldn’t prove it because I crashed.

“I was passing very fast Miller, I was getting closer very fast to Iannone and I was catching the first group in the vision very fast. I was getting faster and faster with a more comfortable feeling. I don’t know if it was bad luck but I [lost] the brakes.

“Now maybe you think it is curious to say that I could have won the race or been on the podium but I really think I could have done that. As I said yesterday everything was possible and today I was getting faster and faster and catching the lead group. But we will never know.”