Jorge Lorenzo has delivered a frank assessment of his latest MotoGP performance in Andalusia, stating, “the logical thing is to be sad, disappointed and worried” after a largely anonymous twelfth place at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The race at Jerez, one of the Majorcan’s favourite circuits, was meant to be the scene of his latest comeback. On Thursday he told reporters “all the circumstances are positive” with regards to him scoring a first good result since a sensational switch to Honda.

Yet it soon became clear Lorenzo was some way off being competitive. From his starting place of eleventh, the 32-year old dropped to 15th on lap two and only rose three positions thanks to the misfortune of Fabio Quartararo, Jack Miller and Joan Mir.

Perhaps the most damning aspect of this performance was that Lorenzo, a five-time world champion, finished two places and five seconds behind Honda test rider Stefan Bradl, making his first racing appearance of 2019.

“I cannot be happy about my race, obviously,” said a despondent Lorenzo. “I cannot be enthusiastic. The logical thing is to be sad, to be disappointed and to be worried. I am going to keep going.

“Tomorrow we have an important test with many things to test, to test with the wish that some of them will give us some more speed. But it’s a difficult time for me. I will keep going, [stay] positive. It’s the only mentality that I can have.

“For sure if I started on the first row or second row, I would’ve had more free track. Probably in the first three or four laps I would’ve been faster.

“But the truth is that when I was alone already in 13th, 14th position I had no pace. I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike. I was slow. If you are fast you recover time, positions, metres… But I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t competitive enough.

“You can see from my face. My face is not a happy face, obviously. This has a reason. I don’t like to make a race like today. I put everything on the track but I could not go faster.

“I don’t like the position. I don’t like the situation. But I think I’m a champion and the champions keep fighting until they find a solution. And I will find a solution.”

What were the main issues that led to this lack of his pace? “Well I have problems in the entry of the corner,” he said. “Still I don’t have support.

“The bike is transferring too much weight to the front and it’s difficult for me to have enough energy in the arms. I need to find some solutions for this problem. Then I’m sure something related with engine braking, or the chassis, we are missing something that we still don’t understand.

“This gives me [an unsafe feeling] into the entry of the corners. I’m losing a lot of time compared to Cal and Nakagami, and of course to Marc. Until we improve this problem, we will not go fast.”

The issues relating to Lorenzo’s current woes are understandable: it has been more than eight months since he was not nursing some kind of injury, and track time on Honda’s RC213V was reduced by his absence at February’s Sepang test.

He believes gathering more experience to adapt his riding style, as well as recovering fitness and upper body strength after a painful eight months will lead to a reversal in his fortunes.

“For sure I can improve a little bit my riding. Every time I ride I will learn some things. But the bike itself, for my riding style, needs to give me something more, in terms or ergonomics, to not get tired in the braking, and in terms of confidence, chassis, engine brake, or engine, so I can enter faster into the corners. Now I’m losing too much speed.

“The scaphoid is improving day by day but very slowly. I don’t feel so much pain on the bike, I am OK. But I cannot train so much in the gym so this affects me on the physical side.

“On the cardiovascular side with the bicycle I can train very hard, but obviously some exercises in the gym to gain some power in the arms I cannot do. But I repeat there is something on the bike I don’t understand to give me more confidence to work with that.”

Asked whether adapting to the Honda was more difficult than two years ago, when his attempts to do away with eight years of muscle memory gained from riding Yamaha’s M1 and understand the Ducati occasionally stumbled, he offered, “I don’t know.

“There are bikes that you jump on and you feel very comfortable and are very quick from the beginning, and there are others that don’t. There are riders that adapt very easily and there are riders that need more time, that when they understand everything they keep it there for ever.

“I am probably one of these last riders but the situation is quite similar. I missed Sepang for three days, I got injured for eight months. For sure it doesn’t help. I think I need time, more testing and more kilometres with the bike. All of this together will give me more speed.”

 

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