The story be­hind his podium and Du­cati turn­around

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER

t may have taken a lit­tle longer than ex­pected, but on Sun­day in Jerez Jorge Lorenzo proved he can tame the Des­mosedici by tak­ing an in­cred­i­ble podium at the Span­ish Grand Prix – si­lenc­ing those who said his glory days were over now that he’s rid­ing for Du­cati.

His third place be­hind the dom­i­nant Rep­sol Honda pair­ing of Dani Pe­drosa and Marc Mar­quez (see page 82) was the first time the 30-year-old Spa­niard has been truly com­pet­i­tive since switch­ing to the Italian mar­que, af­ter nine years and three world ti­tles with Yamaha.

Be­fore the week­end, the chances of Lorenzo be­ing on the podium looked slim at best. Jerez has his­tor­i­cally been a dif­fi­cult track for Du­cati, but on the flip­side it’s one of Lorenzo’s favourites, and his strength as a rider shone through as he scythed through the pack from eighth to third.

With many hav­ing al­ready writ­tenoff the Spa­niard’s hopes for the sea­son – and with some pre­ma­turely sug­gest­ing that he could be set to break his two-year con­tract af­ter only a sea­son – Lorenzo went some way to set­ting the record straight.

He said: “Some peo­ple doubted my men­tal­ity, but they spoke too early and now they have to take back their words. You can­not doubt any rider in Mo­togp be­cause ev­ery­one here is very good and can com­pete at the front – but es­pe­cially any­one who has won world ti­tles and many races in the past.

“It was worth more than a vic­tory with the Yamaha, be­cause ev­ery­one knows the dif­fi­cul­ties that we still have with this very spe­cial bike, and at a track that has in the past been

Ivery dif­fi­cult for us. But Jerez is one of my favourite tracks and I had a good feel­ing all week­end, so I knew that we had the po­ten­tial for the podium.”

But de­spite that good feel­ing and con­fi­dence, Lorenzo ad­mit­ted that it was only dur­ing the race it­self that he knew he had the pace needed to break his Du­cati podium duck, and ease the mount­ing pres­sure from his shoul­ders.

“I re­alised when I was catch­ing Zarco that I could be on the podium. At that mo­ment, you’re fo­cused on rid­ing but you can still think about where your po­si­tion will be, and when I started catch­ing up I knew it would be pos­si­ble. It was dif­fi­cult to keep be­liev­ing when I was tired at the end of the race, but at last I made the break and I felt fan­tas­tic and knew we could fi­nally make it hap­pen,” said an ebul­lient Lorenzo.

But de­spite his im­pres­sive change in form, Lorenzo says that there’s been no dra­matic sin­gle im­prove­ment in the bike since they made rad­i­cal seat al­ter­ations at Ar­gentina two rounds ago, and that Sun­day’s re­sult was sim­ply a case of in­creased ap­pre­ci­a­tion of how to ride the Des­mosedici.

He said: “It’s a com­bi­na­tion of many things, learn­ing this bike and com­plet­ing many kilo­me­tres. When I jumped on to the Yamaha in 2008, the bike was made for my rid­ing style, but in other cat­e­gories it took me a long time to learn the ma­chin­ery – and with this bike it’s more or less the same.”

And as the cham­pi­onship now moves to Le Mans, a track where both Lorenzo and Du­cati per­form well, ex­pect the five-time world cham­pion to not only be on the podium, but eye­ing a re­turn to the top step.

‘I made the break and I felt fan­tas­tic and knew we could make it hap­pen’ JORGE LORENZO

Just when peo­ple had writ­ten off Lorenzo’s year as a dead loss…

Mo­togp’s 3000th race Jerez marked a ma­jor mile­stone for Mo­togp as the se­ries clocked up race #3000 with Honda com­ing out firmly on top

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