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Jorge Lorenzo’s (Repsol Honda Team) Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France didn’t get off to the best of starts. A crash at Turn 8 early in FP1 left the Spaniard immediately on the back foot and having finished P14 by the end of the session, things we’re looking particularly positive for the number 99.
However, Lorenzo isn’t one for throwing in the towel and having made a change to give him more confidence aboard his Honda machine, the five-time World Champion was right up the sharp end in FP2. Lorenzo set a 1:31.716 – well over a second quicker than his FP1 time – in what could prove to be a crucial FP2 to finish 0.288 from top spot and less than a tenth off teammate Marc Marquez.
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MotoGP™ FP2 in France: who will top Free Practice Friday?
So how was Lorenzo feeling after an up and down Friday in France? “It was tough this morning. To crash and to finish fourteenth was very tough mentally, to get the motivation and to be positive but finally someway, somehow, I could get on the bike motivated and positive,” explained the Repsol Honda rider in his media scrum.
“Something we tried gave a benefit in terms of comfort and safety at the edge of the corner. Every small, medium or big step for me is like a victory and today I win something. Maybe I don’t win a race or get on the podium, but I win something. Hopefully we can keep this level. Tomorrow it looks like it’ll be wet but in the next dry session I will more things to make that next step.”
But what is the change he and the team have made to make him feel more comfortable on the bike? The answer: a change of seat.
“This type of seat comes from my time at Yamaha and I keep it at Ducati, and I bring it to Honda but it looks like finally I discover that with this bike, for the moment, it isn’t working. It’s a better solution for a standard Honda seat.”
Lorenzo then goes into more detail about how he’s feeling on board his RC213V, saying it’s a bike that is sensitive on the front: “It’s a bike where the front is sensitive. You need to understand all the tricks and all the ways to ride it well. Obviously, I’m having crashes and probably it’s not the strongest point in the bike.
“The confidence it gives you on the front when you enter the corner with the brakes is not the best but it’s the way it is. We have very strong points like the entry into the corner, the turning in some corners and now we have a strong engine but yes, it’s like this.”
Lorenzo will now aim to continue his FP2 momentum into Saturday, but what will greet the riders on qualifying day weather wise? If FP3 is wet, Lorenzo has sealed a Q2 spot. An improvement on a best grid slot of P11 in 2019 will be on the number 99’s menu on a track he’s had six podium finishes at in the premier class.
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