Lorenzo has high hopes at Honda
Five-time champ talks of 2019 hopes alongside Marquez at HRC
‘I’m very proud to belong to this (Honda) family’
Now freed, as of January 1, from his Ducati contract, five-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo this week appeared in Repsol Honda colours for the first time and was able to talk about his stunning debut on the title-winning RC213V. Although, as is customary in the GP paddock, the Spaniard was given dispensation to ride for his new team at the Valencia and Jerez post-season tests in November, he was legally prevented from appearing in HRC livery or talking about his new bike until his Ducati contract expired on December 31. With that now passed, the only man to have beaten new teammate Marc Marquez to a MotoGP crown has been talking about what the future might hold and says he’s delighted with his progress so far. Looking fast and consistent at both tests, Lorenzo’s switch from Ducati seems so be going a lot easier than when he went from Yamaha to Ducati at the end of 2016. He said: “Last season I rode a completely different bike, that was very big and tall. Maybe it was a little too big for me. The Honda suits me better in terms of its dimensions. It is more compact, a smaller and lower bike which I can lean over better. I felt a little more confident when entering corners, because the closer you are to the ground, the more confidence you have. The first impression was positive and I saw a lot of potential. “One of the things that impressed me most was the ability of the team to react, providing what you ask for. I was quite clear, Honda took note of all my indications and within a few days they had everything ready and we had a fuel tank almost one hundred percent to my liking.”
And, he’s under no illusions about the pressure he’ll face going toe to toe with Marc Marquez, but says he’s relishing the challenge. “Repsol Honda may be the most successful team in history. They have the most victories and titles. I am very proud to belong to this family and to contribute to making the team even stronger.”
But with lessons learned from his two difficult years with Ducati, Lorenzo also says he’s going into 2019 with very different expectations from before.
“I don’t know if I’ll be ready to fight for the world title but I’m going to be as prepared as possible. But it’s not that simple, especially now we only have a few tests before the start of the season and you have to race against a phenomenal rider like Marc Marquez in his sixth or seventh year on the Honda. There’s a lot of riders with a lot of experience and I don’t know if I’ll be ready from the first race.” Lorenzo will get his next test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia on February 6-8.
HRC have already come up with a new tank for Jorge After Yamaha and Ducati, Lorenzo is in Honda colours