At Phillip Island, Lorenzo was once again able to sort the situation in the finale. After the initial difficulties, the 8th place time at less than a tenth behind Dovizioso is a good result, because Viñales is almost 8 tenths ahead and Marquez is in an entirely different league.
“There is still a lot of work to do to have a complete bike in every situation and on all the tracks, but we know where we need to improve”, is Jorge’s assessment, facing the reality of the situation.
Compared with the tests in Malaysia, did you move forward or backward?
“I took a step forward. In Sepang it was easier than it was here. At Phillip Island it was more difficult to be competitive for all the Ducatis because of the wind, the type of turns and lots of reasons. In the end I managed. In fact, I did not use the soft tyre when the track was in the best conditions, so maybe I could have shaved off 3 tenths. But the time is not as important as my feelings in the saddle.”
And how are they?
“My goal was to improve my sensations and get close to this bike’s limit and I achieved that. So, I can say that this was a good test, even though there is a long way to go to get to my best.”
And to get close to Viñales and Marquez…
“Marc and Maverick are very fast and their bikes are very competitive on this track, but things can change easily in MotoGP.”
What makes you optimistic?
“When I put on the new Michelin tyre that provided more grip, the situation changed entirely. It solved half of our problems. If there is good grip in Qatar, on a good track for the Ducati, things could change completely.”
Are you aiming for redemption at Losail?
“I don’t know if we will be ready to battle for the win because we no longer have the winglets and our rivals have taken a step forward, but I think that we will do better than we have done here.”
How much better?
“If we could still use the winglets and if Honda and Yamaha had not taken such big steps forward, we would definitely be in the right conditions to win. At the moment, I don’t know. I will have to wait at least until the tests in Qatar.”
In Malaysia losing the winglets did not seem to be such a big problem…
“Here you notice the difference more than at Sepang, especially when there is wind. With less load on the front, the bike turns less and that is important here. It depends a lot on the track. Ducati had made a great advancement on these aspects and the new rules took away an advantage that we had. We will need to compensate somehow.”
What will you work on?
“There are a lot of things that we can improve.”