Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo is a very smooth and controlled racer who attacks every grand prix with precision and skill. He does not get on with the TT Circuit Assen though, and when rain was thrown into the mix today it was almost as if the Spanish 2015 MotoGP Champion was a novice and way out of his depth.
Lorenzo found things difficult all weekend at Assen
For someone who is second in the championship and in need of as many points as possible to prevent Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), the current championship leader from extending his lead then it was shocking to see him in last place at one point during the race. His teammate Valentino Rossi was always in contention of winning at this round, Lorenzo has the same machinery as the nine time world champion, so what is it that caused things to go so wrong for him this weekend?
It rained heavily during the ninth round of the MotoGP season at the Motul TT Assen, and midway through the race the red-flag was produced so that riders could retreat to the pit garages for cover from the storm that hit and the paddock waited patiently and nervously for the weather to ease so they could return to the track to compete for the final twelve laps. Eventually the rain did back off and when the riders took to the grid for the restart Lorenzo had to start from nineteenth position.
There was no break in the weather for the MotoGP riders
Just as a dry line was appearing on the track, the rain began to fall again but Lorenzo remained near the back of the pack. He finally made his way up to tenth and was able to complete the race collecting six points towards his championship in the meantime.
Lorenzo spoke of how he was “thinking of stopping” as the riders lapped during the first half of the race when he was in 19th place. He said, “The track conditions were terrible, but I kept riding and they stopped the race.” In all honesty, I couldn’t blame him! When the race restarted Lorenzo like every other rider had opted for the soft front and rear full wet Michelin tyres. He said, “Though I was one of the last ones, and there were many crashers, I gained more confidence than I had in the first race.”
Who can blame him?
The conditions were treacherous, personally I found myself terrified for the riders having ridden home myself in the past at much slower speeds (honest), in conditions that possibly were not as bad as they experienced today, and I was nervous. I was questioning why the race had not been stopped sooner as it was clear that it was becoming unsafe.
Those riders are so brave; to continue to push on a track with that much surface water, and rain continuing to fall, I can do nothing but praise them. But then on the other hand, these riders are the best in the world, is it right that they are spooked by rain and if conditions are similar at other meetings remaining in the season, are Yamaha going to be happy if Lorenzo chooses to complete the race rather than push for a better result? Maybe the wings on the front of his bike, that are to be banned starting from next season, turned into portable water features and restricted him too much?
Lorenzo's attention switched to the championship
Lorenzo still managed to secure six points which he said are “important points for the championship”; as had the race not been stopped, or restarted for that matter he said, “In the first race I would not have scored any.” Unfortunately for his championship contention he said, “Marquez also scored a lot of points today” but he pointed out that “Rossi who could have recovered points lost a lot”. So overall, the Spaniard felt that, “Ultimately we were able to save a difficult weekend.”