Jorge Lorenzo Brno Ducati MotoGP Interview

Will Ducati’s revolutionary new fairing that attempts to reproduce the effects of wings represent a turning point in the season for Jorge Lorenzo?

jorge lorenzo headshot
Jorge LorenzoCourtesy of Ducati

Jorge Lorenzo's relationship with the Ducati Desmosedici was not love at first sight. The five-time world champion is the first to admit this, and he doesn't hide the fact that he expected a quicker adaptation to the V-four machine.

But Lorenzo fell in love with the team and the passion displayed by the Italian squad. Despite the results, he didn’t give up. Neither did the team, which kept working to give Lorenzo a bike with which he feels comfortable.

After five months of aerodynamics studies, many hours spent in wind tunnels, and test days on track, Ducati brought to Brno a new fairing that is aimed to meet Lorenzo’s request for more downforce on the front of the motorcycle.

Brno, and especially the next round in Austria, could be a turning point in Lorenzo’s season. Will this supposed masterpiece of aerodynamics give Lorenzo the trust in the bike that he so desperately needs? At Brno, I sat down for a chat with the Ducati rider.

jorge lorenzo brno free practice action
Jorge Lorenzo, Brno Free Practice 2017Courtesy of Ducati

One podium finish in nine races is not a satisfactory result for a five-time world champion. What are you missing?

I’m a precise and smooth rider, and I like to have a lot of stability on the front. If we succeed to improve and have more downforce on the front tire, I’m sure I can be fast. When I first tried the Ducati in Valencia in November, I tested the 2016 version with the wings and the feeling was good. I finished third on Day 1 and seventh the following day. With the ban on the wings for the 2017 season, we lost the stability on the front. We tried to compensate by working on setup and weight distribution, but all attempts so far couldn’t replicate the effects of the wings.

Is the new fairing the answer to your requests?

Chapeau to the team for the great work. Michelle Pirro and Danilo Petrucci tested it in Misano two weeks ago, and the feedback was very positive. On Day 1 at Brno, I could only do five laps but the feeling was positive. We will continue testing it over the race weekend. The positive sides of this new fairing represent 80 percent versus a 20 percent of side effects, such as feeling more wind on the shoulders and hands. Compared to the first fairing we tested in Qatar, this new one is a huge step forward. I don’t feel it is heavier in the change of directions, and it doesn’t slow us down too much in the straights.

How difficult and frustrating was it to change your riding style after nine successful seasons in MotoGP with Yamaha?

Honestly, I expected a quicker adaptation. I have always progressed, but the steps were too small. It is also true that the bike hasn’t changed too much since Qatar. Now, with the new fairing and some new items, the bike can improve three to four tenths and I can make the difference.

jorge lorenzo holding a trophy
Jorge LorenzoCourtesy of Ducati

What kind of riding style does the GP17 require?

With this bike, you need to brake late and enter strongly in the corner, exactly the contrary of what I used to do with the Yamaha. I used to lose some meters in braking, but I recovered a lot in the middle of the corner. My riding style doesn't pay now. My natural approach is to not brake too late. Even if I try to force myself, sacrificing the middle of the corner, I am not as fast as Andrea Dovizioso or Petrucci. With more grip on the front tire, I'm sure I can push more.

How would you describe your new machine?

Ducati’s strong point is the engine, and we need to keep it as it makes us gain a lot on the straight. We need to maintain also the stability under braking, but it’s necessary to gain more downforce on the front. I would like a bike that is faster in the middle of the corner and allow me to pick it up earlier.

Is the Ducati a bike with which you can fall in love?

I’m in love with the team because I’m surrounded by passionate and very positive people. I’m in love with the way they are treating me. For sure, I’m not in love with the results I have had so far.

jorge lorenzo ducati rider brno action
Jorge Lorenzo, Brno Free Practice 2017Courtesy of Ducati

How long do we have to wait to see Jorge Lorenzo writing a new chapter in Ducati’s history?

Even if we may look “slow,” it can happen that next year we start with the right foot and win the title. This year, the championship is crazy. Look at Jonas Folger: In one race, he is almost last, and the following round he fights for the win.

What have you learned about yourself in this difficult year?

No matter what you achieved in the past, if you don’t have all the conditions in the present, you cannot repeat yourself. Considering my results and past experience, I thought I was able to leave Yamaha and join Ducati and be competitive after a few weeks, but it’s not so easy. All the pieces of the puzzle need to be in place, and if they aren’t you need to be good at recreating those conditions.

Since your first year in MotoGP, you have always been considered as the anti-Valentino Rossi. How did you deal with this massive pressure, especially at such a young age?

When I put on my helmet, I leave everything outside. In my career, I have gone through many difficult situations that could affect me, but when I switched to the racing mode, I left everything that was not related to the tracks outside. This has been one of my strongest skills. All the small and big polemics that I lived related to Rossi didn’t affect my results. I learned that the decisions you take are very important.

jorge lorenzo motogp race action
Jorge LorenzoCourtesy of Ducati

Is the support of the fans important for you?

Of course, everybody likes to feel the warmth of the fans, and if sometimes you feel that they hate you, it’s important to understand why. If you deserve this hate, then you are in trouble, but if this hate hides that they are worried you can beat their favorite rider, then this means you are doing well.

Does succeeding where Valentino Rossi failed represent an extra boost?

The technical conditions were different, and we cannot do a comparison. Also, repeating what only Casey Stoner did is an external motivation. I took this decision to prove to myself that I can win with two different manufacturers. To win with Ducati—a small manufacturer compared to the Japanese giants—is something special. Ducati is a family of passionate people, and this is fascinating.

What is your strongest fear?

Death. When you are happy and love life, you would like to go on forever. This is impossible and we need to enjoy all the moments. We know we do a risky job and we have a lot of respect for our sport but we are not focused on this aspect.

jorge lorenzo and maria guidotti
Jorge Lorenzo and Maria GuidottiCourtesy of Maria Guidotti

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I won’t be here making interviews [laughs]. I want to discover life, visit the world, taste the cuisine of different traditions. I’m a discipline and training freak, and when I will stop racing I want to release all the pressure. Now I’m 100 percent focused on my job. When I quit, I am lucky to be able to live without working and I can do all the things I didn’t have time to do when I was a rider.

What about a family and kids?

I see it as difficult. It’s nice but also a great responsibility. You need to have clear in your mind that this is what you want in your life. If you don’t have it clear, maybe it’s better not to do it. Maybe instead of kids I will have nephews.

Finally, if later in the season you were told to help Andrea Dovizioso in the title chase, would you do it?

I think it’s too early to speak about this, but if I’m not in the condition to win and Dovizioso is close, I’m happy to help him to win the title for Ducati.

Brno Combined Free Practice Times

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team FP1 FP2
1 4 A.DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team 2'06.261 1'56.332
2 94 J.FOLGER GER Monster Yamaha Tech3 2'05.984 1'56.730
3 9 D.PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing 2'05.886 1'56.751
4 5 J.ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3 2'05.201 1'56.862
5 8 H.BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing 2'05.896 1'56.864
6 45 S.REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing 2'06.429 1'56.905
7 26 D.PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 2'05.446 1'56.933
8 35 C.CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda 2'06.147 1'56.961
9 41 A.ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2'05.922 1'57.019
10 93 M.MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team 2'05.240 1'57.209
11 25 M.VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2'05.845 1'57.289
12 19 A.BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 2'06.461 1'57.314
13 44 P.ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2'06.691 1'57.378
14 46 V.ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2'05.712 1'57.396
15 99 J.LORENZO SPA Ducati Team 2'05.321 1'57.637
16 17 K.ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 2'07.078 1'57.869
17 76 L.BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing 2'06.126 1'57.992
18 42 A.RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2'07.801 1'58.042
19 43 J.MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2'07.157 1'58.179
20 29 A.IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2'06.507 1'58.194
21 53 T.RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2'07.013 1'58.437
22 22 S.LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2'06.622 1'58.638
23 38 B.SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2'07.613 1'59.382

Get All The Latest News Right Here: