It was going to take a top shelf performance to confirm the progress demonstrated at Mugello and Jorge Lorenzo, at least so far, has fulfilled the task in full at the Barcelona found. Fast in all the free practice sessions, the Majorcan did not let pole position get away, his first astride the Ducati. “I am satisfied. This pole position is the most important result after the win. I am especially happy with the sensations which are almost better than Mugello and better than the test. In qualifying, I felt that something wasn’t right with the first tyre. I did not have much grip on the left side, perhaps due to poor heating. I took care not to crash and with the second bike, everything went better. Up to now, I have been competitive with all the tyres.”
The tyres remain a hot topic, given Michelin’s difficulties on the resurfaced Spanish track and the doubts about which compound to use in the race.
“There is no real soft tyre: there is a soft that provides more grip in some points, but you can also be fast with the medium and hard. I feel good, but maybe the credit goes to the bike: the front still doesn’t have enough grip in my opinion. This is the step forward the Michelin needs to take in the future. For tomorrow it will be possible to put on two soft tyres. Unlike Honda, we can try this solution because they last longer for us.”
Speaking of the race, Jorge is keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground: “We are staying calm, since maybe the track conditions will change tomorrow and we won’t have the same sensations. It is true that up to now we have been consistently fast, but tomorrow we’ll have to do the hardest work. There can also be surprises like Iannone, the Yamahas or Petrucci, although right now the front row seems to be faster. The good thing is that I am the one with the least to lose. If I don’t finish on the podium tomorrow, it isn’t a problem, but if we win, it can be important.”
However, in this period Jorge talks not only about the track, but also about the rider market and similar issues. For example, the fact that many Ducati fans have expressed their displeasure at the news of his migration away from Ducati.
“When things don’t go well, it is easier to blame the rider than to believe him. I am also sad to leave Ducati, since from a certain point of view, the team treated me very well and in a certain way, I have always been in love with the bike. Now that we have seen that the duo can work, it’s sad to go, but you can’t change the past and I want to give the fans who believed in me podiums and victories. I am not worried, however, about not receiving the same technical treatment. I spoke with the top executives and with Gigi Dall'Igna. They are professionals.”
Some also still have the doubt that a simple fuel tank can make such a big difference: “Gigi (Dall’Igna – translator’s note) does not think that the fuel tank is so important. I do because of the energy I conserve. The fuel tank on the new bike was strange. It was very low and did not provide me with support. From Buriram, the bike changed a lot and the fuel tank is the final step to maintaining the pace. It’s a pity not to have demonstrated all of this earlier for a part that costs so little.”