Lorenzo: “The recuperation is going faster than normal”

Five-time World Champion joined the conversation on After the Flag to discuss his recovery, hopes for the season, Honda and the Sepang Test

Repsol Honda Team’s Jorge Lorenzo was forced to sit out the three-day Sepang Test after fracturing his left scaphoid at the end of January in a training accident.

However, the five-time World Champion was able to dial in from home to speak to Matt Birt and Neil Morrison on Friday’s edition of After the Flag, first discussing how his recovery is going.

“Four days ago I started to swim in the pool. Every day we are gaining some degrees and getting stronger but these kinds of injuries require at least one month to really feel well and now we’re on day 17, so it’s still quite a long process to finish, maybe half of it. At Qatar test I will probably not be at 100% but I will be ready to ride and get some information for the test very close to the first race.

“It’s difficult to know how I will feel at more than 300kms an hour on the straight and brake to stop that MotoGP bike. It’s difficult to understand the change of the direction. But the recuperation is going faster than the normal cases, which is a good sign, and we still have 14 days to Qatar, so a lot of days still to get better.”

Lorenzo then explained how long he expects to be feeling the effects of the injury, and when he thinks he’ll be competitive in 2019: “I will have some little pain still after two or three months, but I think I will be able to be competitive in the third race. I like the bike, I like the team. the team is very professional.

“I am grateful for the attention and the way they hear my comments and what I say about the bike. The bike is very different from the one I was using. You just have to look at the dimensions of the bike to realise the difference to the last bike. It’s much smaller and that has positive and negative points. My adaptation has been great, knowing that I wasn’t completely recovered from my injury. I was able to finish 4th in Jerez, which is a good sign. Now my target is to recover this injury to be able to ride like I did in Jerez.

“I told Honda what I felt on the bike and what I thought we needed to improve, compared to what I felt riding the bike and what our rivals have as strong points. The perfect bike doesn’t exist. We always need to concentrate and work a lot because the competition never sleep, and we will surely improve the bike.

The number 99’s was then asked what his goals are for his first season on an RC213V: 

“I would say nothing is impossible in MotoGP but of course we have to be realistic and understand our limitations at that point,” said Lorenzo. “Not limitations for lack of speed or talent or motivation or hard work, but about the experience; experience to know the bike because we have less tests to prepare and going from one bike to another is difficult in just three or four tests and it’s not going to be easy, also with the injuries.

“For sure, we’ll struggle a bit in Qatar and in the next two or three races but our goal is to improve the bike and if we can be fast, we can win races and if it’s something much better than expected, we could fight for the world title. For now, I’m not one of the favourites, there are other riders like Marc, obviously, who must lead and fight for the world title, together with Dovizioso, Valentino, who is always there and knows the bike and Viñales, for example.

Lorenzo then discusses the competitiveness of the MotoGP™ class in 2019, further outlined by the test results we have seen in Sepang. But the Spaniard warns not to draw too many conclusions from the Sepang Test.

“We are living in a golden era because the races look spectacular and the competition is closer than ever. We can see the classification of the test and it looks like Ducati have got a bit of power and stability at this track, they finished for Ducatis in the first four, I would sign up for them for sure, but pre-season is pre-season and one lap is only one lap. There are more important things like the pace and comfort of the rider, so we can’t take so many conclusions about that, but the Honda riders look strong. Marc dominated the first day. Bradl and Nakagami aren’t far from the first guys, so that looks good for a team that’s always struggled at Sepang. I’m looking forward to jumping back onto the Honda.”

You will be able to see Lorenzo on board his 2019 Repsol Honda at the Qatar Test on the 23rd, 24th and 25th February. A vital test for every team as it’s the last test before the season opener at the Losail Circuit, and a vital test for Lorenzo as he tests his physical fitness on a MotoGP™ machine for the first time since the Jerez Test.

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