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Lorenzo misses out on the party

Lorenzo misses out on the party

Jorge didn’t quite have the pace to join in the ‘fun’ with Rossi and Marquez at the Dutch GP despite an excellent start & podium finish.

Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo arrived at the Motul TT Assen in buoyant mood, and why not? The double MotoGP™ World Champion had won the last four races in the row, leading the last 103 laps across the line and in the process reducing the gap to his teammate Valentino Rossi at the top of the championship standings to just one point. This is in complete contrast to his start to the season where he couldn’t buy a podium for the first three races.

In fact, the Spaniards form coming into the Dutch GP was so great, even Rossi had been forced to stand up and take notice and change his whole approach to practice and qualifying in an effort to stop his teammate.

Thing is, Lorenzo hasn’t really got on with the TT Circuit Assen since his victory back in 2010. His best placed finish before today was a fifth back in 2013 and things didn’t quite go to plan at the start of this weekend with the Spaniard struggling on the first day of practice, ending up sixth on the combined timesheets after the first two sessions.

Lorenzo said he was struggling with the new Bridgestone tyre and couldn’t quite find the right feeling with his Yamaha M1; although it wasn’t quite time to hit the panic button yet.

Lorenzo improved immediately in FP3 on Friday to finish second behind Rossi, and also showed a race pace on a par with Marquez’s in the all-important FP4 session. Therefore it was a surprise when he found himself down in eighth after Q2, and would have to line up on third row of the grid in his worst qualifying position since the rain affected session at Assen last year.

Lorenzo faced a mammoth task if he was to prevent pole-man Rossi and the rapid Marquez, who was third on the grid, escaping at the front when the lights went out: “Today I knew I have a difficult situation to get to the front. Luckily I had a good start and I overtook more riders and in a shorter amount of time than I thought I would.”

A “good start” seems a bit of understatement as Lorenzo had moved up to fifth by the very first corner, and had passed five riders by the end of the first lap to occupy third. Having done all of the hard work, surely he would join in the titanic tussle for the lead with his two rivals?

Unfortunately this wasn’t the case for the Spaniard, as while he could match the pace of Marquez and Rossi for the first few laps, he couldn’t make any dent in their lead, and he started to fade. By lap six he was 1.4s behind Rossi, and by lap ten this margin had grown to 3.4s as he found himself lapping on average about three-tenths slower than the two men in front of him, appearing to have no answer to their blistering pace: “I made three or four laps with them but after that they started to get away little by little. I wasn’t competitive in two sectors and I really lost a lot in the high-speed changes of direction.”

Eventually Lorenzo would cross the line in a lonely third, 14.576s behind Rossi, the biggest margin he has found himself trailing the race winner by so far this season. The Spaniard admitted that he just hadn’t been on his game at the TT Circuit Assen, but he was happy to come away with 16 points despite this: “In this track I wasn’t really competitive, I was worse than normal. Marc improved this weekend and Rossi was competitive from the first practice, while I was slower. We saved a tough situation though.”

Lorenzo will be looking to bounce back at the Sachsenring in two weeks time, although it is one of only three circuits on the current calendar, along with Austin and Argentina, that he has never tasted victory at before in the premier class: “Germany is a track that’s usually difficult for me even though I’ve been close to the win two or three times but never won. You never know what can happen, maybe this year is the time; I don’t think we’ll have the same problems as here and we’re just ten points behind Valentino.”

It almost seems like we are seeing two versions of Jorge Lorenzo this year. There is no doubt that when Lorenzo is ‘in the zone’ he looks full of confidence and unbeatable, but as he has shown this season, when things don’t quite go to plan he can sometimes look a completely different rider come race day.

It will be interesting to see which Lorenzo turns up in two weeks time at the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.

Check out the MotoGP™ race report, the full results and also the latest championship standings.

MotoGP, 2015, MOTUL TT ASSEN, RAC, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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