Jorge Lorenzo says the Ducati’s GP18 fuel tank design is hurting his ability to stop his bike in heavy braking zones which scuppered his race at Le Mans.

Lorenzo darted ahead to be the early leader at the French round, in a similar start to the Jerez race last time out, but the three-time MotoGP world champion was eventually passed by Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso one third into the race before dropping down the order to eventually finish in sixth place.

The Spanish rider has blamed his struggles under heavy braking and explains he has a problem with fatigue through his arms which has surfaced this year due to his riding position with the redesigned fuel tank on his Ducati.

“My main problem today is that physically I didn’t have a good support with the full tank to keep my stamina up for all the race,” Lorenzo said. “I am suffering with this from the beginning at tracks like Austin and here where there is a lot of hard braking.

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“I suffer a little bit more with this bike as we still haven’t found any solutions as last year’s bike was different. I suffered less. In Montmelo we are going to try many things to resolve this problem because with more energy I believe I could be closer and faster to the winner.

“Every lap it is a little bit more difficult to keep the corner speed so you need to slow down to turn the bike and they were getting closer before finally overtaking me.

“If we improve that then it will be more difficult for them to catch me. If we improve this little problem with the bike I can keep my energy for longer and until the end of the race and be more fresh to think, to ride and to attack in case they overtake me.”

While seeing teammate Dovizioso secure a fresh Ducati deal this weekend, Lorenzo’s future at the Italian manufacturer is unknown as negotiations continue for the remaining factory ride for 2019.

Lorenzo finished behind both Pramac Ducati challengers at Le Mans, with Danilo Petrucci second and Jack Miller in fourth, but the Spanish rider has shrugged off suggestions the result with hamper his future talks.

“Everyone in the paddock knows the value of Jorge Lorenzo and what I can do on a bike when I feel good like I did in the past for eight or nine years, always first or second in the championship,” he said.

“I am struggling with this bike but we are trying to improve things and we are not so far. Eight laps leading in Jerez, nine laps leading here. The bike is now better than two or three years ago so we need to find this problem especially and as soon as possible.”

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