Ducati newcomer Jorge Lorenzo has made great strides to familiarise himself with the Desmosdeci – but all efforts were in vain as a hobbled pitstop cost him the race in Brno.
Jorge Lorenzo was always adamant about his desire to become one of the only riders to swap to Ducati and master the famously difficult bikes. One could imagine that it’s also his way of sticking it to former Yamaha teammate and feud partner Valentino Rossi – whose time atop the Ducati was added to the list of “those that tried, but never succeeded”. Determined to join the ranks of Andrea Dovizioso as a master of the Italian marque, Lorenzo has been doing all that he can to learn the ropes of the spirited beast.
Just as he seemed to have been getting his hands firmly around the reins, climbing through the ranks at the Czech Grand Prix at Brno, his hopes of a significant finish were cut down by an incredibly delayed pitstop. Lorenzo, like the rest of the pack out on the track atop medium compound tires, was forced to pit to swap to slicks after it became clear that the course had dried up very quickly.
Whereas Marc Marquez made the move to an early pit and swap to the slicks on lap two, Lorenzo’s squad was woefully unprepared for the sudden turn in the weather, and left Lorenzo waiting aimlessly for his second bike to be made ready. By the time he managed to scramble atop the back-up-bike, he had lost far too much time in the pits, and finished in 15th place.
Our problem was the delay in the decision to prepare the bike to go on dry [conditions],” said Lorenzo. “This delay, the problems we had, gave Marquez the advantage because they planned before, probably on the grid [to have the ‘dry’ bike ready].
Just three corners before the pits I received a signal on the dashboard [to pit], so I expected that the bike was ready but it was not. The team, seeing that Marc was so fast already, decided to take the risk to put this signal already before we are losing more seconds.” – Jorge Lorenzo
The delay in time wasn’t the only factor that contributed to his downfall, Lorenzo claims that the lack of ample preparation resulted in a hodge-podge set-up for the bike – where it was tuned for half-dry and half-wet conditions. Understandably, such a tuning prevented the Spaniard from maximizing the tires’ grip out on the now-dry surface.
“When I entered the pits, I saw the team working on the bike, changing the suspension, putting the right settings. The bike felt a little strange, and they told me my setting was half-dry, half-wet, so that’s why I couldn’t go any faster.” – Jorge Lorenzo
Oftentimes, the burden of a race win is shouldered squarely on the riders – but its situations like these that server to remind all that racing is, and will forever be, a team sport. Should just one section fail to deliver on its performance, the team as a whole will suffer. Let’s just hope it’s a one-off for Ducati.