Defending MotoGP™ World Champion Jorge Lorenzo reflected on a huge result at the Tissot Australian Grand Prix by stating that he felt lucky to have clawed back 25 points in the standings, further to the disqualification of Marc Marquez.
The pretender to Lorenzo’s crown, championship leader Marquez, was shown the black flag for failing to acknowledge the pre-determined pit window – whilst Lorenzo rode a perfect race in the circumstances to take maximum advantage of his rival’s error.
Lorenzo went into the race 43 points adrift of the Repsol Honda man, knowing that should Marquez outscore him by eight points or more his title would be gone with two races remaining. But he was handed a championship lifeline by Sunday’s result and now trails Marquez by 18 points at the top, with visits to Motegi and Valencia still to come.
Reflecting on his win in a shortened 19 lap race, which featured a mandatory bike change due to tyre safety issues on the resurfaced Phillip Island track, Lorenzo commented, "It was a crazy and chaotic race, the first time we have changed bikes in a dry race. It needed a lot of attention from all of us and the mechanics to be ready, as anything could happen."
"We practiced the bike changes a lot and that was one of the keys to the victory. I was slow in Warm Up and we had to change some things. We changed the strategy and made some improvements. I was so fast in the race, but Marc and Dani (Pedrosa) were really quick too."
Giving his opinion on the incident where contact occurred between the two riders, as Marquez left pit lane on his second bike, and the black flag which was to come for his title challenger, Lorenzo continued:
"I braked too late and Marc was coming out of the pit lane so we touched and we were lucky to avoid crashing. We were both at fault. He did not look who was coming, but it was 50/50. The one who is already on track should have the priority. I don’t know exactly what happened to Marc today, if it was a mistake from him or his team, or whether he did not see the pit board."
Acknowledging his good fortune and the greater opportunity he now has to retain his title, Lorenzo added, "We’ve been very lucky. Without the mistake from Marc I think he would have been first or second. Now the championship has changed so much. Before the race we had no chance, a 2% or 3% chance and now it’s 20% or 30%. But Marc is very competitive at every track, so we need to go as hard as possible at Motegi and Valencia."