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Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) has an excellent record at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, with wins and podiums littering his CV. Last season the ‘Spartan’ took P3, too, and his first podium at Ducati, so it was a good venue to arrive to after a tough start to the season – and he agrees.
“Finally some good result to give me more motivation and happiness to keep going! I was quite sad after the race in Austin,” says Lorenzo. “So finally at a track I like with good grip, the new asphalt and the new items that Ducati have brought here, that makes my life easier, makes the bike smoother and I could get a good position in qualifying.”
It was a close qualifying session in which the top 12 were covered by eight tenths, and Lorenzo showed some serious pace to threaten the front row and eventually take P4 – one ahead of great rival and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). So is it the track? Or something more?
“I was very close to the front row,” he affirms, “but it also could easily have been worse because there are four or five riders right behind me with a similar laptime, but mainly the feeling – we’ve improved the feeling from the last race, because of the two new things Ducati have brought here that make the bike calmer and more how I like it. I would have liked to have them before but it’s never too late to improve the feeling.”
Spanish GP MotoGP™ qualifying in slow motion
New things? The ‘Spartan’ wouldn’t be drawn on what – but he says that’s playing a big part.
“Eveything helps. I like Jerez a lot, last year I was third, it has a lot of grip with the new asphalt but also these new parts have given us a step forward, and in my confidence without a doubt, and we’ll see if we can use them at other tracks. We have to continue like this, Ducati listen to what I say about the bike and then everything will go well.”
So with good pace so far, is a repeat of his 2017 podium on the cards? Lorenzo says anything could happen – as it often does – but picks out Honda and Suzuki as big hurdles on Sunday. “The Hondas have made a big step forward this year, and the Suzukis, so maybe last year we could even have won but you never know in MotoGP because anything can happen! I think the Hondas are the favourites so we just need to try and stay as close to them as possible and see if we can get on the podium.”
Lights out is at 14:00 (GMT +2) – with Lorenzo looking to repeat his lightning-fast starts of 2017 from the second row.
A surprising poleman and whole field within 8 tenths!