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Lorenzo: “I didn’t expect to be able to lead!”

After another stunning start, the number 99 led the way once again – but not quite to the end this time

It’s now three races in a row that Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) has created some serious startline magic, and the ‘Spartan’ may have made his best start yet at the TT Circuit Assen. Launching from 10th after a crazy end to qualifying that saw Lorenzo pushed to the fourth row despite being within four tenths of pole, the number 99 got it hooked up to perfection to blast up into third through Turn 1 and straight into second by the exit of Turn 2, then into the lead soon after.

10th to 2nd - A stunning start for Lorenzo! Watch for FREE

“Today was an unexpected first part of the race because I didn’t have the pace, I struggled so much – especially with the wind, it was a windy race so I expected to suffer so much,” says Lorenzo. “But actually I started very well, gaining a lot of positions and I was lucky that everyone went to the inside line so I have a free track to make a very fast first corner. So I took third, I overtook Crutchlow and later on I also tried with Marc in the braking. So I led the race for several laps! I didn’t expect to be able to do that, but we improved the bike and I felt quite good in the race, with a lot of concentration.”

In the end, however, it wasn’t to be - despite some incredible moves and duels. In the closest top fifteen finish of all time the Majorcan eventually crossed the line in seventh, suffering in the latter stages and losing out in Sector 4.

What did the riders think of the race?

“The only problem today was sector four,” explains the number 99. “We lost a lot of tenths compared to the others, so I gained in the other sectors and lost everything in the fourth. We couldn’t solve that in the race, especially with old tyres, and finally it was impossible to keep the pace of the top guys.”

Before he started to lose out, however, the highest profile moment of the first part of the race saw the number 99 suffer a front end moment that caught the following Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) out in a big way - with the ‘Doctor’ making contact with the rear of the Ducati. Both stayed on and played a big part in the race later, but it could have been game over early on in the Dutch TT.

“It was a frightening moment, a very dangerous moment and we were very lucky not to crash together,” affirms Lorenzo. “The front closed at high speed, fifth gear, I entered too far on the inside and I touched the curb. The front closed and I almost crashed but I had to reduce a lot of speed. Valentino didn’t expect that I’d reduce it so much and he hit me from behind. As I told you we were very lucky not to crash; with all the group behind it could have been very dangerous.”

As the ‘Spartan’ says, it was luckily no harm done and crash avoided, with the two taking the flag and some more points ahead of the impending summer break. But there’s one more race before that: the German GP on the 15th July.

2018 Dutch TT: MotoGP™ Full Race