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Lorenzo fails to fulfil potential in Le Mans but aims to repeat his qualification efforts

Lorenzo fails to fulfil potential in Le Mans but aims to repeat his qualification efforts

Lorenzo fails to fulfil potential in Le Mans but aims to repeat his qualification efforts

17 year old Jorge Lorenzo deservedly captured the headlines over the first two days at Le Mans and then was the unwanted centre of attention from the fans on Sunday after colliding in the first lap of the GP with reigning World Champ and local hope Arnaud Vincent, sending both riders scuttling into the gravel.

Between them Caja Madrid Derbi riders Lorenzo (and his more experienced and senior team-mate) Emilio Alzamora had only managed to score a single point in three Grand Prix; Alzamora in particular only taking a best finish of 18th so far including this weekend.

The team badly lack testing miles after their new generation 125cc machine was late arriving off the factory floor at the start of the year but Lorenzo provided a shock on the first day of practice on Friday in France by topping the timing screens. He then posted the third quickest lap in the first qualifying session and held that distinction on Saturday after rain washed out proceedings (he was seventh fastest in the wet).

The teenager from Mallorca became the second youngest front row starter in the history of the sport. The feat was even more surprising considering that from a total of 12 practice and qualifying sessions prior to Le Mans Lorenzo breached the top ten only twice with a highest placing of 7th in the second free practice in Jerez. The majority of the time he had been struggling to even break into the top twenty.

A sign of things to come occurred in warm-up before the race when he slipped off and sprained his ankle. He then got away from the first row badly as the race started and was trying to make up positions when he tangled with the KTM of Vincent.

´ I have the sensation that I have lost a great opportunity to be at the front, he said afterwards. ´At the start I lost some positions and I hit the floor trying to pass Vincent. He made a small mistake and I tried to overtake on the inside but he closed the line, we ran off the track and crashed. I was really looking forward to doing well and even though I had some pain in my foot after a crash in a warm-up I was sure that I had enough speed and rhythm to finish higher up. It is a shame, but I am satisfied with my riding over the weekend and the development of my bike.´

With Alzamora struggling to come to terms with the 125 machine after several seasons on a 250, Lorenzo has now forged a strong footing for himself in the all-Spanish team despite his relative inexperience. Don't be surprised if this is not the only time in 2003 the youngster starts to shake the establishment.

125cc, 2003, Jorge Lorenzo

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