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By Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Lorenzo’s gamble that wasn't

Reigning champion sees comeback interrupted by a tyre problem

Both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had a difficult start to the Czech GP, crossing the line at the end of lap 1 much further back than their qualifying positions and both having chosen the harder option rear tyre. That seemed a mistake in the first few laps, before the rubber began to come into its own and both riders started to make a big impression on the timesheets – with Rossi eventually crossing the line in P2. Lorenzo, who was at one stage out of the points-scoring positions, also started to see his laptimes drop dramatically as the rear tyre choice began to pay off, and moved back up into the top ten on an impressive charge. Then, with seven laps to go, the reigning champion seemed to make a huge gamble – and came into pitlane to change bikes.

Going back out on his second bike, the decision seemed a wrong one as the Mallorcan then dived back into the pits a lap later to get back on his first machine. However, the lap on the second bike was to give the Movistar Yamaha team time to be able to change the front tyre on the number 1 machine - after the rubber had suffered irreparable damage. Going back out in a last dash few laps, Lorenzo unlapped himself past some key rivals, but was unable to regain the gap on the field.

Jorge Lorenzo (P17): “It‘s a big pity because I was doing a great race. I only had some difficulties stopping the bike at the beginning when there was a little bit more water, and especially with the hard tyre on the exit I didn‘t have grip. I needed to be very careful and that is why I was quite far from the top. But little by little, as the track dried, the rear became better and I started to gain confidence. Seven laps before the end the front tyre tore up so I had to change bike twice - and then finished the race on the first bike in seventeenth. Rossi was unlucky in Mugello and I was unlucky today."