Missing ‘the train’ as Jorge Lorenzo put it cost the Spaniard a shot in qualifying for the Dutch GP at Assen.
On the back of two consecutive wins in Mugello and Barcelona, Lorenzo could only manage to qualify in tenth position at the head of the fourth row. Lorenzo was one of three riders who didn’t end the session in a big group, something he thinks that cost him as he lost out in the final sector.
“I think it was just Iannone that was following me and took profit from my slipstream. The rest were on another place of the track, I think Zarco was the only one together with me who was alone,” said the factory Ducati man.
“The rest of the riders were together like a train. Every rider was, let’s say, not as close to lose time in some parts of the track and not too far to take profit. They were the perfect meters to be as fast as possible.
“It was a strange situation, a strange qualifying. Everyone take profit of this little advantage, that gave you from two-four tenths of extra speed. And the ones who were alone, like Zarco and myself were eighth and tenth.
Despite qualifying back in tenth position, Lorenzo was only 0.376 off of Marquez’ pole position time. Lorenzo knows exactly where he lost the most time and will be working to remedy that in morning warm up.
“Anyway, if I wouldn’t lose so much in the last sector then, even without any rider in front, I could be on the first row anyway,” he said.
“But unfortunately, for the moment, in the fourth sector I always lose from two to four tenths. Let’s try to modify the bike in warm-up to give me more confidence in those particular two corners. But this is it. These two corners today cost us the chance to be much more in front.”
After winning his previous two races on the soft Michelin rear tyre, it was no surprise to see Lorenzo go out with the soft rubber in FP4. Lorenzo admitted FP4 wasn’t great, but it wasn’t just the tyres that hindered his progress.
“Well, in FP4 to be honest, it was not a good practice. We were with the soft rear, very old tyres and we were very slow and with a lot of problems with the wind, the wind for sure doesn’t help our bike. Maybe a little bit more than the other bikes, so that doesn’t help,” said Lorenzo.
“In qualifying the wind was reduced a little bit so this was good and I felt very good to be honest. With both tyres I was pretty quick and we improved the bike compared to yesterday. But these two problems avoid us being closer to the front. Firstly the last sector and secondly because this train of riders was very fast.”
Despite his lighting hot starts, Lorenzo is fully aware that starting from the fourth row may cause issues.
“I think it’s complicated to be so far behind, because this track is quite narrow and difficult to overtake. So to be in first or second row would be much better. The good thing is that I’ve been making good starts this weekend, so if tomorrow I can do the same I can overtake probably one row,” he said.
“But it will be for me a race to have basically the first two laps and then see how the tyres are reacting, during all the race. It can be a race of some crashes so we need to be careful, especially with the front.”