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Images of the Race from pitlane and poduium at MotoGP Le Mans

Jorge Lorenzo: “I am in love with progression: I’m obsessed by it”

Jun 072017

At thirty years of age the fifth most successful rider of MotoGP and FIM World Championship Grand Prix racing seems to have lost none of his intensity. As the 2017 campaign nears the halfway stage and Jorge Lorenzo is used to his bright red Ducati shade - compared to the deep Yamaha blue in which he basked for nine years and secured three titles - the workload and focus for the Majorcan has evolved and ripened.

Lorenzo was the talk of the series with his high-profile (and frankly ballsy) move out of a sharply competitive environment and comfort zone at Yamaha to convert a fast and well-resourced Italian factory team into world champs for just the second time since their ‘return’ to premier class Grand Prix competition in 2003.


You made a change of team, colour, motivation but has life also changed?

The fire inside of me changed. I have more motivation to achieve my best every day: to wake up and push to my limit and train a lot and to continue to be motivated. I think if anyone stays ten years in one ‘job’ – in my case Yamaha – surrounded by the same people, same ambience and the same bike you lose that fire, little-by-little, because of the routine. I needed something different. To be with another bike - because that is one of the most important things - and to be in a project where I would be an important ‘piece’ to make it stronger. To make the best bike on the grid motivates me a lot and I think we can achieve that, to make the most ‘complete’ bike because at the moment we just have the most powerful! I want to work with Gigi [Dall’inga General Manager of Ducati Corse] and the engineers to try and make this possible. I want to be one of the few riders to win with two bikes and the only other one with Ducati apart from Casey [Stoner].

Did you really find that new motivation straight away when you left Yamaha? I don't mean at the test but maybe visiting the Ducati factory, interacting with fans and thinking ahead…

Yeah because we are human and we get used to the same things and routine very easily. It is very difficult to keep the same motivation every year when you are always doing the same. The last year cannot be like the first. Even if I am very professional and keep motivated and work a lot you still lose something and with this new project, presentation and new way of working you feel a bit more alive…and this is important in life. To feel refreshed. I needed new stimulus: to be more alive and be the best of me.

Looking at your social media channels reveals you are a busy guy: Andorra, Switzerland, training, sponsors. It seems like not too much has changed for you and you are quite nomadic…

You have to understand what is your ideal life and then don't forget the people that worse off than you. We’re very lucky and I try not to forget that. I am one of 20% in the top level of sport and one of those that is very lucky: it is important to be conscious of that and it can be difficult because the routine can make you think negatively and that I travel too much, for example. I cannot complain.

It must still be hard to constantly be on the move…

Yeah, but who pays for all of that? All the houses and cars? If you are not doing the right things to be fast and win races, championships and go to events then it won’t happen. The lifestyle is a circle and you have to make a decision: do you stay in or out? If you stay then you have to be grateful for the chance and do it in the best way that you can.

How will it be for you not to be able to perform or reach your maximum while you acclimatise?

Well, you can always do more. You cannot put limits. If you only complain about the bike, and put excuses then you don't improve. You have to draw out your best in all circumstances and the conditions on the track and focus only on that while not forgetting to explain to the engineers the best areas in which they can improve the bike. I’m still quite far from my maximum with the bike that Ducati have…but I don't stop working. It is a working process.

Is that process frustrating or exciting?

When you achieve something difficult then the flavour is different. It is happiness, and the harder the challenge the better the feeling when you get it. That's why winning a world title with another brand will be amazing and with Ducati it will feel important and special and proud. I’m in love with progression. I’m obsessed with it. It is progression that finally makes you win because if you stop doing that then you are beaten; the others will not stop. In this world you cannot stop progressing…and I like that. When we improve some piece of the bike then I am happy because it means more results. When I improve my technique on the bike then I am happy because I know it will lead to good things.

But progress is a bit of an animal. It is a lifestyle or commitment that seems to be very consuming, maybe-

To not enjoy [life]! I think it is another kind of enjoyment: one of tension, of competition and working with a team. It is a hard world and requires a lot of concentration, certainly not being on a beach in the Maldives or in the cinema or playing PlayStation with your friends when you can ‘turn off’. I think it is something that people who stay at a certain level [of sport] can enjoy. I think normal people can suffer in this situation but elite sportsmen seem to enjoy the struggle. It is something strange! It can be difficult to achieve something great. If you are motivated you can achieve to a certain level in your life, job or sport. To really be No.1 then you need to be obsessed. You must work hard. In soccer if you want to reach the top, like millions of other people, then just being motivated is not enough. You have to be obsessed to be the best, and do much more than all the players. With motorcycling – OK, much less people participate – but there are still a lot of fast riders in the world.

Here and now in 2017 what is happiness for you? It cannot be victories as you already have so many…

I feel like I am in the best moment of my life, in all aspects. I have my health – the most important thing – my family is good, I enjoy life with my friends, I have achieved all what I dreamt of – much more – and I’m in a very nice challenge. I have a lot of passions apart from bikes like the World Champions 99 gallery [in Andorra], my sunglasses company Skull Rider and also a little collection of sports cars. What more can I ask?