Lorenzo on pace

Reign­ing cham­pion fin­ishes ahead of Mar­quez and Rossi to keep 2016 ti­tle hopes alive af­ter fight­ing hard to keep dom­i­nant Ducatis in sight

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN AUS­TRIA MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Jorge Lorenzo cel­e­brated an im­pres­sive third place at the Aus­trian Grand Prix as if he had won the 28-lap race – and ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards that this epic en­counter was a huge step to­wards re­tain­ing his world ti­tle.

Fin­ish­ing ahead of ti­tle ri­vals Marc Mar­quez and Valentino Rossi, the Spa­niard was fi­nally able to close down Mar­quez’s cham­pi­onship lead af­ter a se­ries of dis­as­trous races.

“This third place is al­most like a vic­tory. When you’ve had many vic­to­ries like I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to do in my ca­reer, third place isn’t ex­actly the same as a win, but third was our most op­ti­mistic po­si­tion in this race.

“I was re­ally fo­cused on win­ning and I pushed all race. At the be­gin­ning, I think I could even have been a bit faster, but I couldn’t pass Ian­none on ac­cel­er­a­tion. I just stayed calm, didn’t make mis­takes and stayed in sec­ond place un­til Dovizioso passed me and they in­creased the pace.

“I tried to stay with them, but our bike prob­a­bly de­stroyed the tyre a lit­tle bit more than theirs and I re­alised that third was re­al­is­tic. I had to con­cen­trate then to keep my lap times con­sis­tent and to stay ahead of Rossi. It took a lot of ef­fort, but I was able to fin­ish in my max­i­mum po­si­tion.”

And while he knew go­ing into the race that third place was the about best that he could man­age against the dom­i­nant Ducatis, Lorenzo did ad­mit some­thing that bodes well for next year, when he de­fects to the Ital­ian out­fit.

“I was sur­prised at the be­gin­ning, be­cause I ex­pected Ian­none with the softer tyre to pull a gap. Maybe he was saving it for the sec­ond part of the race, but I also thought he might be even slower at the end – but I was very wrong, and he was even bet­ter at the end!”

Lorenzo was thrilled to bounce back af­ter a run of poor re­sults and in­stantly hit out at his crit­ics. He stated: “Ev­ery time I don’t make great re­sults it’s ‘Lorenzo in cri­sis’. It’s hap­pened many times, but some­times this hap­pens in Mo­togp, and you just have to make sure not to get in­jured and to just wait for your mo­ment. I did that and demon­strated again that I can be com­pet­i­tive for the win.

“I al­ways be­lieve in my­self, and I’ve had some dif­fi­cult mo­ments in my ca­reer but I’ve al­ways come back from them stronger. I knew it would only be a mat­ter of time and I just kept work­ing and didn’t get down. It’s easy to get down when you go to a race and have a bad re­sult, then again… and again. It’s easy to get frus­trated, but I knew it would pass.

“We knew that Du­cati were in another world here and that third was the best pos­si­ble, so it feels like a vic­tory. I’m happy with the re­sult, and happy with the ef­fort I put in and the con­cen­tra­tion that I held.”

‘I’ve had some dif­fi­cult mo­ments but al­ways come back stronger’ JORGE LORENZO

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