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After the first day on track in Sepang – following an impressive first outing in Valencia – Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) realised more the scale of the red mountain to climb. Fast forwarding to Qatar, where is the ‘Spartan’ now?
With teammate Andrea Dovizioso concentrating on development, Lorenzo’s mission from the off has been adaptation. Sepang Day 1 saw the five-time World Champion well outside the top ten and identifying the key areas of concern – but by the end of Day 3 the debutant in red was up to P11 and only two tenths off ‘DesmoDovi’ in P4.
The toughest test for Lorenzo was Phillip Island, which has also proven a more difficult track for Ducati of late. Although finishing the test almost eight tenths off P1, the Mallorcan was less than a tenth off Dovizioso by the end of action in Australia, with the Ducati Team ending the sessions in P7 and P8 overall. Starting off struggling, the ‘Spartan’ concentrated not only on a laptime but more on consistency and the rhythm – with a reputation already as a rider with metronomic, almost carbon copy consistency in laptimes. Goals set for the test were achieved, with Qatar next up – a track with a reputation for red success in recent seasons.
“The best Day 1” of preseason is how Lorenzo opened his Qatar account, finishing the first day of action in fifth as teammate Dovizioso topped the timesheets. A good start, with Day 2 a little more muted in P8 – but with another improvement in laptime. The third and final day was the most positive, as the 2010, 2012 and 2015 MotoGP™ World Champion wrapped up the #QatarTest in P4. With some work still left to do, the conclusion ahead of the first race weekend of the year was nevertheless simple: optimistic.
If Lorenzo were to win in Losail, it would be back-to-back wins with two different manufacturers. And that would see the ‘Spartan’ joining an exclusive club that so far only has one member: former teammate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).
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