After taking his first pole position in red on Saturday, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) hammered home his form on Sunday to take another stunning win – more than four seconds clear and with a rhythm that would make most drummers jealous. Following a tough start to the season that kicked off with brake failure in Qatar, the number 99 is well and truly back in the groove.
“It’s unbelievable and it shows how things change in this sport,” grins Lorenzo. “Two months ago, two victories with Ducati seemed impossible and now it’s done, and in this way of winning it’s amazing. I never gave up, I just kept saying I needed the right pieces and needed to put it together to be competitive with Ducati, and find my way to be fast and smooth with this bike. We showed you can win with Ducati having a smooth riding style and that’s what makes me most proud.”
He definitely showed that, with Lorenzo inch-perfect throughout the race and putting in laptimes within half a second of each other for most of it – some of which differed by mere thousandths. “The hammer is back! But the hammer never went away…the problem was that the hammer was slow!”
The results sheets certainly don’t tell the whole story, however. The five-time World Champion made it look easy enough from the outside, but Lorenzo says he had three key obstacles – with the win not quite the lights-to-flag perfection of Mugello.
“It was a difficult race, for two or three reasons. The first was the start, I made a worse start than usual, normally I gain metres compared to the others but today I lost them. I lost two positions and even Iannone overtook me. I needed to stay calm to find a way to overtake them. The second problem was the heat, it was terrible and the front tyre was sliding. And the third was the tyres, in these conditions they didn’t give us the same feeling – probably after the Moto2 race on the tarmac. They didn’t give us the feeling, the same for everyone, and the pace was slower than usual so I needed to be very focused to the end.”
He managed that in classic unbreakable style, taking his 150th podium which, he says, also shows that it’s not all about winning – it’s also about consistency. Can he take his consistent frontrunning pace into Assen next time out? The challenge looks to be a bigger one – but the goalposts have moved much further forward.
“Anything can happen in this sport, especially now with everything so close. Things change very easily from track to track and now we go to Assen which will probably be worse for our bike. But we’re in a sweet moment and our bike looks more complete than ever. So we just need to keep focused, not make mistakes and if we can’t win or get on the podium, we need to finish in the best position possible.”
Finally, it was time to ask THAT question. After winning two races for Ducati after signing for Repsol Honda from 2019, how does it feel? A little bittersweet maybe, but also focused forward on the present and future.
“Everyone would like to change the past but the past is the past, you need to focus on the future and the things you can control. Sometimes I’m still sad to leave a team as competitive as Ducati, and this bike, but life is about decisions and we made the decision. Now I would like to get the most victories and podiums possible for the team and leave with a smile and the best result possible in Valencia.”
As he did in 2016 in his last race for Yamaha? Time will tell, and Round 8 appears on the horizon much before then, with MotoGP™ back on track at the TT Circuit Assen in two weeks.