Lorenzo’s Ducati debut
Jorge Lorenzo has stunned the Motogp paddock on his debut ride on the Ducati Desmosedici he’ll pilot in the 2017 Motogp championship, after completing his first laps on the machine at the post-season Valencia test last week.
The former Yamaha rider made a massive point throughout the two-day test, by being first on track every day and one of the last in, completing a gruelling 126 laps as he works with the new team to find his way on his unfamiliar machine.
And while he might have finished the test down in eighth on the time sheets, he still managed to lap only 0.3 seconds slower than his best practice time of the preceding race weekend on the Yamaha – a clear warning shot across the bows of his opponents, especially with Ducati boss Gigi Dall’igna insisting afterwards that their new rider hadn’t even pushed for a fast time.
“We are not really happy about the lap time he set, but if a fast lap time was the target then we would have worked in a different way. We would have worked on the set-up of the bike more, given him the best feeling for one lap. We didn’t do that, so the time he did is the result.”
But, with Lorenzo still banned from discussing his new machine until his Yamaha contract ends in the New Year, Dall’igna was full of praise for his new signing. He is confident that there will be no repeat of the disaster Ducati experienced when Valentino Rossi made the same move back in 2011.
He said: “I’m really happy with the impression he has of the bike. For sure, there are some good points and some weak points in comparison with his previous experience, but I have a clear idea now of what he needs, and I hope that I can give him something new for the next test. We have to improve the way the bike turns, but we know that – we’ve worked on that with the 2017 bike. Also, the first touch of when he opens the throttle is the worst point, and something that we need to improve on.
“On the second day we did a different job for him. On the first day he used only the 2016 bike, but starting from the second day he jumped onto the 2017 bike to make a comparison between the two. Not only did he do a comparison with the bikes, but he also tried some other materials that we need to sort out for the new season.”
And while some in the Motogp world have used Lorenzo’s lack of confidence in wet conditions this year to highlight his perceived inflexibility as a rider, Dall’igna, a key part of Lorenzo’s two-time championship-winning Aprilia 250GP team, says that the test has shown just how much of a talent the Spaniard is.
“He is a champion with a lot of experience, so I’m happy to work with him again. His impression of what he wants from the bike and the set-up is really clear, but we’ve only spent two days with him, and we need to spend some more time to learn how he works. “Every rider has a certain style - but Jorge has a really good one! For sure he has to change a little bit, and he has to learn some things about the bike, because it’s something that’s important for the future. For sure we have to change the bike a little bit too, but I think he can learn and work out a good way to work with the bike.”
‘He is a champion with a lot of experience. I am very happy’ GIGI DALL’IGNA
It’s a learning experience but Lorenzo looks to be learning fast