Category: jorge lorenzo

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RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 19 – VALENCIA

AD04 – 9: I swear i saw Andrea do a rain dance in the middle of the race… 😉

MM93 – 5: Patience is a vertue Marc, and at Valencia, you definitely needed more of it.

JL99 – 5: Years  are starting to show on Jorge. And by show i mean i would have never thought a wrist injury could slow down this much the guy who finished 5th a few hours after a collarbone surgery.

DP26 – 8: Oh Dani, i can tell you there was not one dry eye in your fanclub grandstand on Sunday. They almost got me out of tissue papers!

VR46 – 7: Vale tried to win. Again. But failed. Again. When luck runs out, it’s really out!

SR45 – 5: If the bike racing stuff does not work, Scott has a career of underwear model waiting for him judging by his way of celebrating his last race in MotoGP!

AR42 – 9: After a 2 part race like this, i bet Suzuki are fine letting Andrea go. Alex’s ready for that number 1 rider spot.

PE44 – 7: And just like this, out of nowhere, Pol gives KTM their first podium in MotoGP! Good job Polyccio!

MV25 – 6: I do not know if switching from 25 to 12 will make Maverick go faster but it can definitely not make him, or rather his M1, go slower.

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Jorge Lorenzo – Valencia 2018

Jorge Lorenzo – Sepang 2018

Jorge Lorenzo – Sepang 2018

ROUND 17: PHILLIP ISLANDPhillip Island provi…

ROUND 17: PHILLIP ISLAND

Phillip Island provides both a gorgeous landscape with sea
in the background (and seagull playing around) and a fast floating track. It’s
no surprise then that it always makes good racing and it’s a favorite for many
fans and riders.

1) FINALLY

After 25 races of plain struggles and no wins at all, since
Valentino Rossi’s Assen GP victory, Yamaha finds the top step once again thanks
to Maverick Vinales. Funilly enough it’s Maverick who’s racing his famous 25
number…

The
spaniard couldn’t hide his joy on Sunday, happy to finally get the chequered
flag first once again and proud to be the one ending Yamaha’s victory drought: “This
is the best feeling ever, honestly! We’ve been in the dark all year, and
suddenly we came into the light! The season has been difficult. I needed that
win. We needed that win. Yamaha needed it also, to start next year. I said on
Friday, ‘we need to be good and motivated to start next year really well’ and
for sure this win is going to give us a lot of motivation.”

Even
though people started to think maybe the riders were also one of the many
problems from Yamaha’s crisis, Vinales never doubted himself and his skills. In
fact it’s in yamaha that the spaniard lost faith a little at some point during
his personal 28 races victory drought: “There were two races I felt I
could win. One was Silverstone [cancelled] and another was here. So to make it
is really good and to win here is so special.”

This
win wasn’t an easy get away though. Vinales once again struggled at the start
being merely into the top 10 by the end of the first couple of laps even though
he started from the front row: “I didn’t expect to start so bad, it was
incredible. When I saw myself in tenth I just said to myself, ‘Maverick, you
are stupid! What are you doing!’” I just tried to keep my concentration. We
worked so well this morning on the electronics and I knew if I felt good I
could be fast because I was top-three all weekend. I felt good, so I said, ‘now
I have to push. Not think about the tyres, just push and push’. When I saw I
was three-seconds [clear] I could relax a little bit and save the tyre, but it
was close at the end because both Andreas were coming really fast. In MotoGP
it’s always really difficult to control the race, control the gap. They were so
fast at the end and I was struggling, thinking, ‘maybe they’ll catch me’
because in the last laps my rear tyre was really down. I just tried to control
the gas really well. Luckily I could push at the beginning. I didn’t expect to
be so fast in the beginning, but finally I made enough gap just in case the
tyre went down.“

Hoping
the 2019 will be a clear contrast against his 2018 season, Vinales made it
clear he believes and hope Yamaha will now listen to him and let him lead next
year’s bike developement as showed that, when everything is right he can win
"à la Lorenzo” too: “For Yamaha, I proved I can win races and
they need to try to provide a bike for my riding style. Especially in the
middle of the corners to turn and if we have that we have the chance to fight. I
think if we work well for 2019 we can be strong as we were in 2017. So we need
to keep working. Next year I will also have more experience and I will be
better, because I know the worst point of being here racing and the better ones.
We have a great chassis, but we have to improve the electronic and engine. I
really love the chassis because, as today, I can ride really fast.”

2) Marquez / Zarco

The
Marc Marquez’ curse continues. Indeed, each time the spaniard get to win a
MotoGP title in Japan, he finds himself impossible to finish the next race at
Phillip Island. This time though, Marquez was forced to a DNF because of a
racing incident which happened between him and french man Johann Zarco in the
very early laps of the race. The two men collide when Zarco touched Marquez’
rear, propulsing the french rider out of his bike and into the gravel trap. The
bike of his bike being too damaged, the 2018 World Champion had to get back in
his pit, scoring his first DNF since Silverstone 2017.

Both
riders were lucky enough to get out of the horrific incident without a scratch
and they both were gracious enough to not dramatise anything of what happened.

Marquez:
“When I was on the bike, I didn’t understand what happened and, honestly
speaking, I was angry, because I felt some contact from the rear. I wasn’t able
to continue because my seat was completely broken and was moving a lot. It was
impossible to ride in a good way and if it broke completely, it would become
very dangerous. Then when I arrived in the box and I saw the video I
understood what happened and it was completely a racing incident. At that point
in the track we arrive really fast. Miller was in front, I was the slipstream
behind Miller, at over 300 km/h. I braked, even a little bit late, and I just
tried to stop more, but then I felt the contact, because Zarco took the
slipstream from two bikes. Of course, you can say maybe he can consider this
[slipstream], but it’s a racing incident, I already spoke with him. I feel
really lucky today because me and him are both OK so this is the most important
thing.”

Zarco:
“I went to him to say sorry because I totally destroyed the back of his bike
and he told to me the most important thing was that I didn’t injure myself. As two racers and sportsmen we totally understood each other. It
was an accident as we are going so fast and there was not a lot of space on the
left side. He was close to Jack and he came back on to the racing line at corner
one but I was also there. So I crashed.”

3)
Vinales’ chasing pack

Behind
Vinales, Adrea Iannone took 2nd after a weekend where he showed a very
impressive pace. The italian even believes that without a couple of silly
mistakes he made, the victory was a true possibility: “I started the race
with a really strong feeling and for sure we had a really good potential to try
to win the race. But I made a mistake at Turn 4 and
lost 4-5 positions. It was not a good situation! I tried to recover but I felt
the tyre start to drop more than I expected and so I decided to remain in the
group and manage the tyres as best I could. That strategy allowed the Italian
to make a late push for victory, taking chunks out of Vinales’ lead until
another Turn 4 error. I had a little more in the last four laps and I tried to
push at 100%, I closed [on Vinales] but on the last lap I made another mistake
at Turn 4 so Dovi nearly overtook me. But at the end it was a great fight –
also with Vale, both Ducatis, Marc and Zarco. It was a difficult race and at
the end we got second position. I’m happy”

Andrea
Dovizioso closes the podium even though Alvaro Bautista, replacing injured Lorenzo,
did not make the job easy on Desmo Dovi. The italian was overall very happy to
see the Ducati finally being competitive at Phillip Island, a track where
they’ve been struggling ever since Casey Stoner left the Bologna boat for Honda
in 2011: “A lot of good things happened today. I’m really happy. That was
the last important test before the end of the season, because this is a track
where we always struggled. So we confirmed, in every practice, our improvement
over last year. The winglets, the set-up is different from last year and it
worked. The improvement is big. Still it’s not enough to really fight because
in the middle of the corner I was too slow. We accelerate more in the main
straight, but in some corners I couldn’t exit with the right speed. I was able
to put myself in the right position, that gave me the chance to fight for the
podium, but I really didn’t have the same speed as these two riders [Vinales
and Iannone]. So we still have to continue to improve, because in some
other parts we are really, really good, but still we are struggling in the
middle of the corners.”

Man
of the race though has to be Alvaro Bautista. The spaniard was given the very
uneasy job of replacing 5 times World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, on the
desmosedici GP18. After struggling a little (and crashing some more) in the
free practices, Bautista found his pace and was able to display all of his
riding skills: “It’s a bit different from the satellite team because in the
satellite team you have just a few people working for you. But in the factory
team you have the same people in the box but behind the box you have eight
people more. And they help a lot. In this category the small details make the
difference, and those small details are better in the factory team. Also for
sure the bike is different. For me I’m very impressed of the engine, the
character of the engine, the power of the engine. It’s incredible how different
this bike is from the bike of last year that I’m using. The difference is quite
big. Well, I had better results in the past but for sure it’s been good,” he
said. “Just to arrive for one weekend with a different bike, a different team,
a different way to work, and also in this track that I’ve struggled in the
past… Also with the three crashes I had in the whole weekend, and to recover
the feeling and confidence for the race was really good. I was fighting for the
podium position. I missed for the fight for the podium at the end because I had
a problem with the gearbox. When I switched to third – because the gearbox is a
bit different to what I’m using – I didn’t engage the gear and I lost the
distance with both Andreas. In any case I’m happy because I enjoyed the race
fighting at the front.”

Bautista
will have to get back on his old desmo though has Jorge Lorenzo (who congratulated his fellow spaniard on twitter for taking good cares of his 2 bikes), who got surgery on
his wrist the repair his damaged ligament, is planning on returning to action
at Sepang by the end of this week.

Jorge Lorenzo – Motegi 2018

Jorge Lorenzo – Motegi 2018

Motegi 2018

Motegi 2018

ROUND 15: THAILANDFirst time racing in Thailan…

ROUND 15: THAILAND

First time racing in Thailand was a success for MotoGP judging by the huge attendance showing up all weekend long at the Chang International Circuit. Was the racing good though ?

1) Team Mani

Marc Marquez continues to mark history each times he goes out as he now is the first ever winner of the Thai GP. Still fierce and incisive in his every moves, the spaniard has to fight hard to get the best out of Dovizioso for the win: “I saw that Dovi’s pace was good and I was able to be slightly faster,
maybe, but I wasn’t able to overtake him because my front tyre was
overheating and I wasn’t able to stop the bike on the brake points. For
that reason I tried to attack before the last lap, to try to cool down a
little bit the front tyre, but Dovi was really smart and he overtook me
really quick every time. Then I said okay, we will see on the last lap.
I tried to forget everything, the championship, all these things and I
just give all that I have.

Was the racing good then ? It was fine. Was it the best race ever like many like to say every sunday now ? Hell no! What’s the problem then ? The entertainment, the fights, all this only happened in the last couple of laps, leaving you watching the rest of the race like you where watching the boring middle part of the 24h of Le Mans. This isn’t Marquez’ fault by any mean though but it brings us to our next point: Dani Pedrosa and the Michelin tires.

It’s no news that Dani Pedrosa is living one of the hardest time of his career right now. While he will retire at the end of the current season, one could wonder: is he simply not good enough to win a GP or is he not being give the tools to shine ?

Some weirdo will tell you he cannot do it anymore, that he is not one of the Aliens. Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, let’s just say we do not share this point of view. Proof is the Thai GP. At a hotter track where he was quicker to bring the tires to temp, suddenly, Pedrosa looks in good form, do well in FP and QP and was at some point of the race before his crash, the fastest man on track with a real chance of winning. His smaller size has always been a threat to his natural talent ever since he joined MotoGP but since Michelin took over the paddock, Pedrosa’s problem went from bad to worse. And ever since they comeback, no solution was being given to Dani. Something which, to me, is incomprehensible: “We were forced to use the hard rear and I had a huge, massive,
disadvantage on that. Because for me, to warm-up this tyre was almost
impossible. It took me five laps [in the race] and I had to
do two extra laps before the grid, to clean the tyre and try to
give temperature, when all my rivals put the new tyre in on the grid. I lost so many seconds, maybe four seconds, in the first couple of
laps but then I caught back to them before the crash. So this is the
positive part but unfortunately it ended in a crash and I think it would
be a lot different if I could start from the front. But the disadvantage was massive today on the rear tyre at the beginning. That’s the problem, but… nobody cares.
” 

We do care, Dani. We do. 

2) Magic Trick ?

The Iwata brand is living it’s worse time in the Grand Prix paddock since so long ago that i probably wasn’t even born yet to witness it. All jokes aside, the men in blue were hoping racing on a whole new track on the calendar might help them save what they can from that dreadful season.

Twenty Four races without winning and still counting, both Rossi and Vinales looked to be in better shape this weekend. Being fast during practice doesn’t means much though once Sunday comes. Yamaha’s miracle did not arrived in time for the Thai GP but we did saw a few sparkles of it.

Indeed Valentino Rossi not only made it to the front row of the grid but he also led the race for a while, which he hasn’t been able to do in quite some times: “For me, this is the best race for Yamaha in the second half of the season. This is so important. It
was a lot better, because we fight in the top group. At the end,
unfortunately, we are always struggling a little bit too much with the
tyres. But today we are not far. During the weekend Maverick followed another way with the set-up. He was
able to ride that type of bike and maybe saved the tyre in a better
way. So Maverick was a bit stronger than me at the end.”

Vinales on the other side could only take away the positive of the weekend. The spaniard seemed more relaxed, being all smile most of the time which marks a radical change compared to the last races. Finally getting a start worth of his factory rider’s status, Maverick needed some times at first to match the leader’s pace. Once he did though, he closed on Dovizioso and Marquez like melting snow to the point where he probably didn’t saw a race win this close in ages: “It is really difficult to ride like this, up and down, because you never
have enough trust but I think that race was a different situation
because I could have the chance to attack on the last laps. I was there, really close, but we need more feeling because in five or
six races I was not able to be less than ten seconds from the top. I
arrived there really close, I was able to fight, so I am happy that we
did a good job this weekend, so let’s see in Japan – no expectations, I
will try to be clever like I was this weekend and we will see if we can
manage.”

3) The Boys in Red

Jorge Lorenzo came to Thailand suffering from his foot and left suffering from his foot even more AND from his wrist. After one hell of a hot summer for the spaniard, the last couple of weeks have been a complete disaster for Lorenzo, losing every chances go be runner up and making it even hard now to finish 3rd in the standings. Nobody can blame him for deciding not to race this weekend after the awfully scary highside he suffered in FP2 (due to a mechanical problem on his desmosedici but with Ducati not wanting to provide anymore infos on the matter): “As I told you,
the chances to compete here were minimal [after the Friday accident] –
even before I had the scan, when I found out that I have a fissure in
the end of the radius bone. So my left wrist is
hurting a lot and for sure in my opinion there is no meaning to take
more risk, knowing the circumstances, knowing the pain, and I decided
not to race. I don’t want to miss any grand prix and, as you
know, I did whatever it takes to arrive here and try. Obviously, the
right foot that was already injured is a little bit more painful, but
the main problem now is the wrist. If I was fighting for the
championship, I would probably make a desperate effort not to lose
points here. But knowing my position in the championship, knowing the
risk to be bad also in the next races, there is no meaning to try now.

Dovizioso on the other had a rather normal weekend. Having a pretty good pace, he challenged Marquez for the win the last laps but failed to stop the younger spaniard: “I am always trying all my career to do that (harness aggression) and it
has happened with Marc and with most other riders, because I am not that
rider to try and create a problem. Yes, I can be aggressive but not
over, and it is good when the race is like that: a lot of overtaking but
try to be in the safe way. I’m happy if we continue like this.

A 2nd place and another podium which leaves him without any pressure to take the 2nd place in the overall standings and prep for next season: “I am really happy to have another four races and continue to work and
try to improve a little bit because we need that if we really want to
fight for the championship next year.

Reading Germán Garcia Casanova’s blog post on Motorsport dot com (here’s the link: x) though we cannot help but agree to the fact that being a good rider isn’t enough against Marc Marquez. In order to beat him you must be willing to take every risks, to try anything. Dovizioso lacks that. He could have tried to do a Lorenzo and go away instead of saving his tires as he was showing a very strong pace, but he didn’t. He could have pushed Marquez even further in his moves, but he didn’t. To quote german: “Dovizioso is a
great driver, but he does not have the competiviness, irreducible gene of not wanting to lose that makes you one of the greatest. (…) Dovizioso did
not risk, he did not give everything, he did not seek the limit, the
Italian complied, without a doubt, he did his role, and in the end,
he even made ‘a Márquez’ move in the last corner, but you could be expecting a little more coming from the rider with the best bike on the grid.

With Lorenzo probably back at Motegi, a track he loves, and judging by the Ducati’s improvement, the pair should be hard to beat in the last couple of rounds, at the exception of maybe Phillip Island. Or maybe not ?

4) Honorable mentions

Kuddos to Scott for doing the last few laps completely sick in his helmet even though he couldn’t bring home a point by finishing 16th.

Johann Zarco felt better this weekend too and was able to take a very welcomed top 5.

Alex Rins continues to slowly progressing. Not top 5 this time but a good 6th place ahead of his teammate Andrea Iannone.

Danilo Petrucci in 9th still not showing any factory rider worthy material.

Rookie and replacement for the injured Tito Rabat, Torres is showing some skills. Finished 19th in front of regulars of the like of Nakagami, Luthi and Espargaro (the last one is still recovering from his previous injury though). 

Jorge Lorenzo – Thailand 2018

Jorge Lorenzo – Thailand 2018

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Jorge Lorenzo – Aragon 2018

Jorge Lorenzo – Aragon 2018