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Repsol Honda Team’s Jorge Lorenzo says he’s pleased that his hard work is starting to show signs of promise. The five-time World Champion struggled with a full fuel load in the opening stages of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but as that lessened his pace improved.
Despite admitting that the results are still not satisfactory, he was able to “have a bit of fun” in the closing stages at Motegi by adjusting his riding style to try and get the most from the factory Honda machine.
After the Flag: Milestones at Motegi
“I didn’t start badly,” started Lorenzo. “But with the chaos of the first lap, I lost some positions because I went to the inside of some corners and some riders passed me around the outside, costing me some positions. There, I really couldn’t have gone any faster. After with the full tank, I couldn’t play with the bike and it was the bike that pushed me into the braking zones. I had to brake early and I lost a lot of time, but with the tank starting to empty I began to feel a lot better. And that, with the important change to the ergonomics that we did in Warm Up, made it go from less to more, quite clearly.
“Whilst the others took advantage of the fresh tyres at the start of the race, riding 45 highs to later drop to 46s, I was the opposite: I started in the 48 medium-lows to finish in the middle 47s, finishing the last 10 laps at a second off Marc and Quartararo, and less to some others.
“After Assen, I hadn’t managed to be one second off the fastest guy at any moment in a race, and today I achieved that. It’s something. Evidently, we’re not happy and still missing a lot to be at the front, but we’ve seen some progress on the bike, with my style of riding and my physical condition.
Watch the thrilling first laps of the Japanese GP for FREE
“We finished so many seconds from the front because I wasn’t able to be competitive at the start of the race. If I was able to be, we would have finished 30 seconds behind, which is something that we want to achieve. I’ll leave knowing that the feeling I had in the last 10 or 12 laps allowed me to start playing with the bike a little and have a bit of fun.
“We’ve shown that we’re working and, over time, we’ve improved various areas of my physical ability, my pain, the bike and shown that if you insist and have patience, things can progress.”
Next for Lorenzo is Phillip Island, a circuit he has had success at in the past. Five podiums, including one victory in 2013, will fill the Spaniard with confidence that he can achieve his best result to date on the Honda RC213V at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
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