MotoGP: First podium for Lorenzo since moving to Ducati

MotoGP: First podium for Lorenzo since moving to Ducati

Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo scored his first podium at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana since moving to the Italian manufacturer, after a very difficult few months.

Danielle Overend

Well new Ducati rider, Jorge Lorenzo proved this weekend that if you favour a track, no matter how you are struggling with your machinery, you will still be able to well as the confidence will take over.

Difficult few months for Lorenzo

After such a positive start on that first test in Valencia, when Lorenzo tried the Ducati for the first time, when he has officially become a Ducati rider, things appear to have gotten worse. He struggled at the opening rounds finishing 11th in Qatar, crashed at the first corner in Argentina collected a DNF, and then only managed ninth in COTA.

But returning to home turf appeared to have given the Spaniard a confidence boost. Also he is reported to have spoken to taking a more scientific approach to everything including the Ducati Desmosedici GP17, and the Michelin tyres.

Favourite track for Lorenzo brings confidence

Lorenzo’s performance in Jerez looked promising straight away as he was sixth during FP1, 11th during FP2, but then during FP3 he was 12th which meant he had to use Qualifying 1 to get through to Qualifying 2. He was second fastest during the first session behind Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Jack Miller, but it was enough. He went on to qualify sixth meaning he would start from the back of the second row. On race day he was second quickest during the morning warm-up session.

The race started, and initially he went backwards down the ranks dropping down to eighth when the race got underway. But he began his attack early on and quickly gained a few positions passing the likes of former teammate, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), then the Italian’s new teammate, Maverick Vinales. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was his next victim.

Lorenzo focused attack on rookie, Zarco

Ahead of him, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3) was challenging 2016 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) who was in pursuit of race leader and eventual winner, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda). On the 12th lap though, Lorenzo who was looking again like his former tidy, smooth and comfortable self, caught the French rookie, and passed him on the inside which forced him wide at turn six.  

The two Repsol Honda teammates were pushing hard and although Lorenzo was going well, there was no time for him to catch them and he finished third at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana in Jerez. The Spaniard celebrated the podium like it was a win. It was a great result for the factory Ducati team as Lorenzo’s new teammate, Andrea Dovizioso finished fifth; it was fantastic with regards to the Desmosedici GP 2017 as Octo Pramac Racing rider Danilo Petrucci finished seventh.

What a 30th birthday celebration!

Lorenzo said, “A podium here at Jerez, in front of all my fans and after three complicated races, is the best present I could receive for my 30th birthday.” The Spaniard turned 30 on the Thursday before the meeting, and he went on to explain that the result in Jerez gives him “more satisfaction than many wins [he] scored in the past”, the reason being it “was very difficult to achieve”.

He went on to declare that, “To finish third on a Ducati at a traditionally difficult circuit for the Desmosedici is incredible” as he said “honestly” before he went there he “didn’t expect to be able to fight for the podium”. He mentioned that the “choice of the front tyre was the key”.

He found the start to be “a bit chaotic” which he put down to the “number of riders ahead” of him, be he “didn’t give up easily” and instead “believed that [he] could recover to overtake Zarco and finish third”.

Lorenzo hopes to continue in positive way

He admitted that the “last few months have been tough” however he feels that the “most important thing” is that he has “always believed” in himself and that “the team has shown its full trust” in him also. Lorenzo is now ninth in the championship on 28 points; one point behind joint seventh riders Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and rookie, Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech3) who have 28 points.