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