MotoGP: Lorenzo dedicates Jerez podium finish to his critics

Jorge Lorenzo views his third place finish at Jerez as a vindication, and the first step on a methodical path back to victory

motogp, 2017 motogp, jorge lorenzo, jerez, ducati, desmosedici gp17, gigi dalligna, yamaha m1
Jorge Lorenzo has been working hard to change his riding style to fit the Ducati Desmosedici GP17, and his third place finish at Jerez showed that the three-time MotoGP world champion's efforts are starting to pay off.Photo courtesy of Michelin

Efficient at the start, aggressive under braking, consistent from start to finish: This was Jorge Lorenzo at Jerez this past weekend. But there was one massive difference: the three-time MotoGP world champion wasn’t on the Yamaha M1. This was Jorge Lorenzo on the Ducati Desmosedici GP17.

“It’s a third place that is like a victory with the Yamaha,” were the first words from an extremely pleased Lorenzo as he arrived to the post-race press conference. “I’ve suffered a lot with a lack of results, I’ve been criticized a lot and too early."

"It’s been said that I’m too smooth a rider for this bike: I dedicate this podium to all of those people,” exclaimed Lorenzo with a defiant tone. “Nobody should doubt a rider who has won 44 races in MotoGP and has been on the podium 140 times. The Ducati is a difficult bike; it has to be ridden in an 'illogical' way. I’m human; even I need time, like in the past when I rode the Honda 250. Now I’ve found something that allows me to be more competitive on the Ducati, and at other circuits we will be more competitive. I knew before the start that I had the pace to finish among the first five, but the pace of the race was slower and that allowed me to make some good passes. The one on Zarco was tough. When I passed him, I was able to open a small gap. This is a big result for me and for the team.”

motogp, 2017 motogp, jorge lorenzo, jerez, ducati, desmosedici gp17, gigi dalligna, yamaha m1
Lorenzo and Ducati have been under tremendous pressure since the beginning of the preseason, and it was clear that the Majorcan's podium finish at Jerez was a tremendous relief to everyone on the team. "It's a third place that is like a victory with the Yamaha," said Lorenzo.Photo courtesy of Michelin

Do you ride the Ducati more automatically now?
Not yet, I still think when I am riding…but sooner or later it will become more natural.

Jerez has always been a favorable track for you, but the opposite for Ducati. So it can be said that it was more you than the bike to get the result you got in Jerez.
I'm very happy for all the victories I managed with Yamaha. In my first year with the M1 I encountered a bike that allowed me to fight for the championship right away. Now I'm a better rider, I'm more mature. With Ducati I have a bike that is difficult to understand, a bike on which many riders have suffered a lot. It's true that the bike has improved in the last few years, but it's still difficult, a special bike. But I haven't forgotten how to ride.

After the race you have kissed your bike…what did you want to say with this gesture?
Over the few last days, after performing well, I saw a big reaction from the Ducati fans on social media encouraging me to believe. I felt it was fair to pay back those who have had faith in my capability. The bike still has to improve a lot, quite a bit; we have very strong points, but also some weak ones. On the tracks which are good for us like Le Mans or Mugello, this result can be improved. We have to try to win some races this year and get prepared to do the very best in 2018.

You managed to finish the race as the first Ducati rider that was one of your goals. Now what?
Now the bike has to be improved: it was difficult to be faster than Dovizioso, who rode this bike for five years and thus knows all the little details and secrets to be fast on it. It looked like I had to win the very first race in Qatar, but it isn't that easy. But step by step, as I have always done in all categories, 125cc and 250cc, I get better and better with more experience.

motogp, 2017 motogp, jorge lorenzo, jerez, ducati, desmosedici gp17, gigi dalligna, yamaha m1
Lorenzo has had to become much more aggressive on the brakes to work with the Ducati's character, and it's becoming more and more obvious his riding style has changed to suit. "I have to say that now, as a rider, I feel much more comfortable on the Ducati."Photo courtesy of Michelin

But what if the team says to you that the bike is performing well?
Gigi Dall'Igna knows perfectly well what we have to improve. He knows its weak points, which principally occurs when we release the brakes and try to turn, and the engine character. We have so much power. We have to smooth it out. But I have to say that now, as a rider, I feel much more comfortable with the Ducati.

Where are you on the schedule that you had imagined before the season? Are you ahead of where you expected to be at this stage?
I have to admit that before testing the bike in Valencia, I thought it would be easier. But I needed more time to understand certain aspects. Once I understood, I improved very quickly. From Argentina to here we made a big change. But now there is no sense to think that Mugello, for example, is the place to get the big result. This year MotoGP is a little bit crazy, so many unpredictable things happen! But it's clear that the longer the straights are, the better for us.

You were right yesterday when you said that you now could pass under braking; today you performed some nice passes.
I'm sincere in the positives and in the negatives. But when you say something you have to show it. The truth is that today's race was slow and my pace dropped less than the others.