It was a very determined Jorge Lorenzo who was seen around the time the 2018 Ducati Desmosedici was presented. Last season, much of which was spent trying to adapt to the characteristics of the GP17, finished on an upward trend after the initial difficulties. This year, as well it should be, the Majorcan’s goal is to complete the path of growth, beginning to aim consistently for those positions that he and Ducati fans are expecting.
Jorge’s 2017 was therefore a season to gain "experience", but for 2018, the goal is very different: "We are definitely starting with greater awareness this year. As a rider in general, but above all as a Ducati rider - number 99 commented - After last season, I understand the bike better and that comes after a long, but consistent period of growth. I think I now know better what to do in order to be fast. Already in the final races of last year - he added - I was often battling for the top 5 positions and in Aragón I had a race where I was in the lead for many laps, even if I didn’t win in the end. But that’s okay. Winning should not be an obsession."
The win: last year was your first season without a win since you’ve been in MotoGP. How did you handle that?
"With complete serenity - Jorge confirms calmly - In any case, I see myself as a better rider than last year. The first place finish did not arrive for many reasons - he explains - especially because of the difficulties connected with adapting to the bike. I had to change my riding style in order to try to be faster. Ducati helped me a lot, making things easier for me, but there was too little time. For next year, I am sure that we will be more competitive – how much, I don’t know – but… we will certainly be farther forward."
What is your mind-set as you approach the new season? What can we expect?
"What I can do is offer the best version of Jorge Lorenzo. If I manage to do this with the addition of a bike that has certainly improved, I can do well and, most importantly, I can set my sights on victory in a lot of races."
We cannot help but think about the battle for the title: "That will depend on many factors and luck will also have its say."
How is your relationship with Dovizioso: has it changed this year? Have you had the chance to study him to understand how to go faster with the GP17?
"My relationship with him is good, even if it is not always easy to get along with everyone. In general, you can certainly learn from a rider like Andrea. ‘Dovi’ is a very intelligent rider and he is one who works hard. After 5 seasons with the Desmosedici, he certainly knows it very well and knows how to exploit it to its fullest. In the first year, I watched what he did, studied his data (as well as Petrucci’s) and slowly but surely I formed a better idea of how to ride this bike.”
This year various contracts are up, including yours. What do you think will happen?
"It will be a lot of fun!" (laughing)