“This is the best gift I could have given myself for my 30th birthday”, Lorenzo unwrapped his first podium with Ducati at Jerez, where a Red had not been on those steps since Hayden was there in 2011. To say that Jorge is radiant would be a euphemism: “This podium is as good as a win on the Yamaha.”
Is it a great satisfaction?
“I suffered quite a bit because of the lack of results and criticism from those people who, being too quick to judge, said that I was not the right rider for the Ducati. Now they need to eat their words and this podium is dedicated to them. I have not forgotten how to ride fast (he laughs).”
Is this the end of your apprenticeship with Ducati?
“I am a human being and I just needed time. In my entire career, I have always understood how to go fast with the different bikes and that is what happened.”
Did you expect a podium?
“The goal was to be the fastest Ducati rider, but instead I achieved another. I felt fast. I knew that I had the pace to stay with the top 5 or 6, but it went unexpectedly better. The temperatures went up and everyone’s pace was slower but I suffered less from it.”
How familiar are you with the GP17?
“Everything still does not come naturally in my ride. I still need to think a bit. The biggest news is the use of the rear brake, which I was not used to, but it is going better and better.”
You often said that this is not the easiest bike to interpret…
“It is difficult to understand and many riders have struggled with it. With Gigi’s arrival it improved but it is still a special bike.”
But you kissed it after the podium…
“Because in recent days I have received a lot of messages of support and encouragement from Ducati supporters, and my team has done the same. They put their trust in me and they worked late into the night. That gesture was for all of them.”
Is this result a beginning?
“I was the best of the Ducati riders but now we need to improve the bike to make it complete. It has some strong points and we will be able to exploit them on some tracks to be more competitive, like in Le Mans or Mugello. However, you mustn’t think too much about the various circuits. This MotoGP is crazy and anything can happen.”
Have you updated your goals?
“This year we will need to try to win a few races and prepare for next season together.”