DU­CATI DIS­AS­TER

Luck­less Lorenzo left sit­ting in the pits as team scrab­bled about to get his sec­ond bike ready

Motorcycle News (UK) - - SPORT - SIMON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER simon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com @Mc­n­sport mo­tor­cy­cle­news

Jorge Lorenzo was de­nied the chance to fight for a podium finish at the Czech Grand Prix, af­ter a se­ries of mis­takes by his fac­tory Du­cati team dur­ing Sun­day’s race.

Lorenzo pit­ted only a hand­ful of laps into the race to dis­cover that his sec­ond bike wasn’t ready for him, forc­ing him to con­cede valu­able time sit­ting while his ma­chine’s set-up was mod­i­fied.

But mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion even worse for the five-time world cham­pion af­ter the race was that it wasn’t his de­ci­sion to en­ter the pits when he did – he re­vealed that he had fol­lowed team orders ex­pect­ing that his num­ber two bike would be ready to roll straight out.

Lorenzo said: “I think our prob­lem was the de­lay in the de­ci­sion to pre­pare the sec­ond bike for the dry. This de­lay cre­ated a prob­lem in pit lane and helped Mar­quez to take ad­van­tage. I wanted to do an­other lap on the wet tyres, but three cor­ners be­fore the pits I re­ceived a mes­sage on my dash­board to come into the pits and en­tered the pits un­der­stand­ing the bike would be ready – and it was not.

“Prob­a­bly the team, look­ing at how fast Marc was al­ready go­ing, de­cided to take the risk and not lose more sec­onds. They guessed that there was time to make the change, but when I en­tered I saw the team work­ing on the bike still and when I ex­ited the bike felt a lit­tle strange. They told me af­ter­wards that the set­ting was half dry and half wet.”

Most teams keep the sec­ond bike on the same set­tings as the first for the open­ing laps in case of an early crash, be­fore changing the set-up (a process that in­volves ad­just­ing sus­pen­sion set­tings and elec­tron­ics as well as tyres) to suit the changing con­di­tions. But the Du­cati team were caught short by a rapidly-dry­ing track that called for slicks af­ter only two laps of the race.

De­spite the mis­take cost­ing him

JORGE LORENZO

co­pi­ous time, Lorenzo was keen to not as­sign blame af­ter the race, say­ing that while mis­takes from the team are rare, mis­takes caused by riders are much more com­mon.

He said: “We are a team, and some­times I make a mis­take – in fact, many times I make a mis­take! Yes, this time it was the guys who made a mis­take, but you have to ac­cept it. With the rules that we have in Mo­togp, this can hap­pen.”

Mak­ing mat­ters even worse was that the mis­take came at the cul­mi­na­tion of an al­most- per­fect week­end for the Spa­niard, af­ter fi­nally putting to bed his wet and damp track demons with strong per­for­mances in both rain and on a dry­ing sur­face.

In fact, so strong was Lorenzo’s per­for­mance through­out the week­end that he claimed af­ter the race that if ev­ery­thing had gone ac­cord­ing to plan in the race, he be­lieved that he could have chal­lenged for a win for the first time since mak­ing the switch from Yamaha at the start of the sea­son.

He said: “On Fri­day, I was quick in the rain even with­out push­ing to my max­i­mum, but I felt so con­fi­dent I didn’t need to push. In rainy con­di­tions on Sun­day it was the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for me to win for the first time with Du­cati. I’m not ex­ag­ger­at­ing when I say that I felt I had a chance, thanks to the amount of con­fi­dence the bike was giv­ing me – but we got un­lucky.

“But for sure we’ll learn from this neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and won’t re­peat the same er­ror, but the pos­i­tive thing from this week­end is that we were al­ways com­pet­i­tive, both in the wet and the dry.”

‘I en­tered the pits un­der­stand­ing the bike would be ready – and it was not’

Just when Lorenzo was in with a chanceé

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