Lorenzo & Rossi struggle,
Spaniard making progress but says GP17 is not quick enough to be a winner at round one
Following another difficult test at Phillip Island, Jorge Lorenzo has admitted that he’s still a long way off being ready to win races on the Ducati GP17.
Finishing the three days in eighth, nearly a second off the times of Maverick Viñales, the five-time world champion conceded afterwards that his hopes of taking victory at the opening round of the series in Qatar next month are quickly diminishing.
A track where both bike and rider have gone well in the past, Lorenzo was targeting the Middle Eastern circuit as one of the few this year where taking race wins would be possible – but with much still left to do, that’s now in doubt.
“We have very little time, just three more testing days before the Qatar race. We couldn’t test the 2017 bike in Valencia, which didn’t help. But that’s the situation and now we have to do the maximum with what we have.”
His problems were compounded during the test by the ultra-fast corners of the Australian circuit and the still-limited corner speed potential of his new bike. Consistently maintaining his high corner speed 250GP style through nine seasons at Yamaha – and playing a key role in developing the M1 to suit him – he’s still struggling to adapt to the different approach needed on the Ducati.
“It’s very difficult for me, because they’re completely different bikes – they have the opposite way of riding, the opposite way to take the maxi-
mum. For now, the Ducati doesn’t have corner speed, so you have to brake for longer and be more aggressive with the throttle, more on and off. It’s totally different, little by little I understand it, but I still need more time and more kilometres on the bike.
“Something still isn’t right, and we haven’t discovered something that will allow me to be faster both in the corners and getting on the throttle. We don’t have the bike to best carry the corner
‘We’re not at the level at Phillip Island to fight for the win’
speed, but Bautista is faster than me through most corners, so we have to understand why that is.
“We’re not at the level at Phillip Island to fight for the win. We can be at other tracks, and we have to keep working to make the bike more competitive at those tracks. We’re waiting for those tracks.”
However, that’s not to say that all is lost for Lorenzo, who still managed to make significant progress during the three days, dropping his race pace by a whopping two seconds to at least take some crumbs of comfort from the test
“At this moment the times are not as important as the feeling on the bike and understanding the most efficient way to ride it. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but all things considered I think that we finished this test in quite a positive way.”
The body language tells you all you need to know
Jorge’s 250GP riding style doesn’t suit the Ducati – and it shows