Jorge Lorenzo has rolled back the years to dominate with a go-to-whoa maiden victory for Ducati at the Italian MotoGP at Mugello at the weekend, as defending champion and 20-18 championship leader Marc Marquez crashed out, but was this too little, too late for the Spanish former world champion?
Lorenzo says his maiden Ducati win is the perfect reply to criticism fired at him after a frustrating time at the Italian manufacturer, but admits the breakthrough result comes with mixed emotions as his future at the team looks to be over.
“The pieces [I needed] arrived too late and the next two years I will be with another bike” – he said.
During the Italian MotoGP race weekend, rumours increased that Lorenzo is to exit Ducati for a potential return to Yamaha with an independent team.
But after narrowly missing out on a first pole position for Ducati, Lorenzo produced a flawless lights-to-flag race victory at Mugello which resembled his dominant displays during his factory Yamaha days.
While Lorenzo concedes the maiden Ducati win comes with a tinge of disappointment, given it looks too late to avoid a Ducati departure, he feels it demonstrates his demands on what he needed from the GP18 to fight for wins.
After a revised chassis at Jerez, Lorenzo used a reshaped fuel tank with his Ducati for the first time at Mugello which provided him with greater comfort to relax and preserve his energy for a full race distance – something he says he’d been asking for but the Italian manufacturer had failed to initially deliver.
“I had so many critics in the last year and a half and a lot of suffering with many, many hours of hard work with my trainer and my personal stuff. I’ve finally arrived to this dream and I did it with determination,” Lorenzo said. “I have finally got some pieces that have given me the confidence and I’ve demonstrated it. What I said was true and I have my first win with Ducati.
“To win with Ducati in Mugello is a dream, it is very, very special but to win in race in MotoGP after one and a half years without victory and a lot of hard moments where you think the results aren’t coming so you work harder and harder but the results still don’t come.
“Then a lot of criticising and a lot of people saying you can never win with this bike and then finally I did it. Because of that, it is amazing. This is an example of how mind and determination, proudness and I never gave up.”
In an honest and frank assessment of his Ducati situation, Lorenzo feels the landmark victory will mark a change in his critics’ perceptions of him as a rider but the win has come too late to continue his career with the Italian factory.
“Not so many people believed what I said,” Lorenzo explained. “Some people say that I use excuses but I would say that when I make a mistake, I say that I make a mistake, but when I need something it is true. I have demonstrated that again.
“When Ducati finally gave me the modification on the bike [the frame and new fuel tank] I could do it. A lot of people said it wasn’t possible to win with my mettle with Ducati but I have won with this mettle.
“One side of my heart is sad. I am very happy with this victory but one side of me is sad because I believe if I had this modification before I could tell you that I would stay with Ducati but the pieces arrived too late and the next two years I will be with another bike.”
Lorenzo says he rates this victory inside his top three of career race wins alongside his maiden world grand prix championship triumph back in 125cc in 2003 and his first MotoGP victory back in 2008.
“This victory is in the top three along with Brazil in 2003 and Estoril 2008,” he said. “It is a very happy moment and I will focus on getting to the box to enjoy the party with my team for the next few hours and just concentrate on that.”
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Results from MotoGP of Mugello, round 6 of 19:
- Jorge Lorenzo ESP Ducati Team (GP18) 41m 43.230s
- Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP18) 41m 49.600s
- Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1) 41m 49.859s
- Andrea Iannone ITA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 41m 51.115s
- Alex Rins ESP Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 41m 51.137s
- Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 41m 52.350s
- Danilo Petrucci ITA Pramac Ducati (GP18) 41m 54.128s
- Maverick Viñales ESP Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1) 41m 54.290s
- Alvaro Bautista ESP Angel Nieto Team (GP17) 41m 54.384s
- Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1) 42m 0.874s
- Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 42m 3.486s
- Hafizh Syahrin MAL Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1)* 42m 5.665s
- Tito Rabat ESP Reale Avintia (GP17) 42m 5.694s
- Bradley Smith GBR Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 42m 5.725s
- Franco Morbidelli ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 42m 9.874s
- Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 42m 22.541s
- Xavier Simeon ESP Reale Avintia (GP16)* 42m 44.441s
- Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V)* 42m 34.319s
- Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) DNF
- Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati (GP17) DNF
- Thomas Luthi SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* DNF
- Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) DNF
- Karel Abraham CZE Angel Nieto Team (GP16) DNF
- Scott Redding GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) DNF
Riders’ World Championship standings:
1 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) 95 points
2 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1) 72 points (-23)
3 Maverick Viñales SPA Movistar Yamaha (YZR-M1) 67 points (-28)
4 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP18) 66 points (-29)
5 Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1) 64 points (-31)
6 Danilo Petrucci ITA Pramac Ducati (GP18) 63 points (-32)
7 Andrea Iannone ITA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 60 points (-35)
8 Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 56 points (-39)
9 Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati (GP17) 49 points (-46)
10 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Ducati Team (GP18) 41 points (-54)
11 Alex Rins SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 33 points (-62)
12 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) 29 points (-66)
13 Tito Rabat SPA Reale Avintia (GP17) 27 points (-68)
14 Pol Espargaro SPA Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 23 points (-72)
15 Alvaro Bautista SPA Angel Nieto Team (GP17) 19 points (-76)
16 Hafizh Syahrin MAL Monster Yamaha Tech3 (YZR-M1) 17 points (-78)
17 Franco Morbidelli ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 17 points (-78)
18 Aleix Espargaro SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 13 points (-82)
19 Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V)* 10 points (-85)
20 Bradley Smith GBR Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 7 points (-88)
21 Mika Kallio FIN KTM Test Rider (RC16) 6 points (-89)
22 Scott Redding GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 5 points (-90)
23 Karel Abraham CZE Angel Nieto Team (GP16) 1 points (-94)