A hot 2017 Grand Prix of Spain may have delivered only a third place for Jorge Lorenzo for his 146th career rostrum appearance and won’t register on the ‘memorable scenes’ list for the Majorcan who famously jumped into the Jerez circuit lake in 2010 and also proclaimed the venue as part of ‘Lorenzo’s Land’ in other catalogues of success at the historic site for MotoGP…but it was undoubtedly a milestone for the three times champ.
Prior to a wheel turning in Andalucía Lorenzo entered his fourth decade with his 30th birthday and photos resurfaced in the press of his Grand Prix debut at the same location in 2002 when #99 had to wait until the second day of practice and to turn 15 and meet the FIM regulated age to be able to compete. It has been a long journey through 125 and 250cc and MotoGP glory since 2008 since then.
In Jerez last week Lorenzo injected fire into the latest chapter of his outstanding career by earning his first trophy with Ducati and his second brand in the premier class. His pacing of Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco on a day when many riders struggled with tyres and grip was a throwback to the Lorenzo of old and after the difficult start to the 2017 season where the Spaniard was clearly trying to adapt to the character of the Desmosedici after almost ten years with Yamaha.
“I said on Thursday it was a combination of many things,” explained Lorenzo after the race on his upturn in form and performance after having previously posted a best of 9th place from events in Qatar, Argentina and the USA. “I needed kilometres on this bike that is very ‘special’ [different].”
“I was fast very suddenly when I first came into MotoGP in 2008 because the bike [Yamaha] was made for my riding [style] but in other categories it took me a long time to understand certain things. Some people doubted my riding and mentality too early and finally they have to take their words in their mouths; you cannot doubt any rider in this championship because all of them here are very good and can be at the front…and especially one who has won many races and titles.”
“Jorge doesn't need to demonstrate anything,” said World Champion Marc Marquez who claimed second place in what was an all-Spanish top three and on a day when the host nations cleaned-up in each category.
Lorenzo is still not close to the relentless ‘machine’ that would pound out lap-times within a few tenths of a second for the duration of a Grand Prix, and finished fourteen seconds down on Dani Pedrosa’s race winning performance on Sunday but his work is firmly in progress. And the details count. “The rear brake is still not so natural for me but it is getting better every practice; for nine years I did not use the rear brake and slide into the corners and now I have to until perhaps we change the bike,” he offered by way of example. “It takes time to change the way I ride to find the maximum of the bike.”
Jorge will have his next chance to grin and prosper in two weeks time when MotoGP attempt the fast (and resurfaced) layout of Le Mans in France.