Repsol Honda MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo admitted that he had fun with the Honda for the first time since moving to the Japanese factory, despite finishing the Japanese Grand Prix in seventeenth place in Motegi.
The Spaniard has been having a season from hell since his high profile move from Ducati in the winter and a mid-season back injury left the former World Champion looking a shadow of his former self.
On the face of it, today’s race where Lorenzo finished in seventeenth place, forty seconds off the race win would suggest another tough day for Lorenzo, however, the Spaniard was somewhat surprisingly happy after the race, explain he enjoyed his best feeling on the RC213V since the move, despite the finishing position.
“We took a small step forward with the bike, especially with regards to gaining confidence,” said Lorenzo.
“In the early stages of the race, I struggled because I lost lots of time with a full tank, about two seconds per lap. In fact, I made a change to the ergonomics during the warmup and I had to adapt to the situation. The bike was still, and I wasn’t able to take the corners how I wanted.
“In the second part of the race, when the fuel level dropped after the twelfth lap, I was able to have fun with the Honda, finding the sensations I had been missing for a long time.
“In fact, I was fast, racing a second faster. Too bad I wasn’t able to ride like this in the beginning. Maybe instead of finishing 40 seconds back, I could have finished 30 back. This is the shortest gap for me since I returned to the track after the injury. So, I am happy with how I rode, even if the results don’t prove me right.”
With the news that Johann Zarco will be sitting in for Taka Nakagami for the final three races of the season, many have said that it is being used as a way to pressure Lorenzo, with the Frenchman potentially replacing him in 2020. When asked about that and the chances of moving next season, Lorenzo said: “There are no other options than to continue with Honda. In the end, I signed a two-year contract last year. My goal is to be competitive with this bike.”