Lorenzo has high hopes at Honda

Five-time champ talks of 2019 hopes along­side Mar­quez at HRC

MCN - - CONTENTS - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER

‘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

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