Lorenzo ‘ready to race’ after injury in ‘emotional’ Ducati finale

Jorge Lorenzo declares he's fit and will be competitive at the Valencia MotoGP on his final outing for Ducati
Lorenzo ‘ready to race’ after injury in ‘emotional’ Ducati finale

Jorge Lorenzo has declared he feels fit enough to be competitive at the Valencia MotoGP on his final outing for Ducati before switching to Repsol Honda next season.

The Spanish rider opted to withdraw following Friday practice at the last round in Malaysia having suffered in pain with his recently-operated left wrist. It meant he has been unable to complete a race weekend since Aragon in a run triggered by his heavy off in Thailand at the start of the flyaway rounds.



Looking to end his time at Ducati on a high, Lorenzo is optimistic he can be competitive in Valencia despite aiming to make a similar comeback two weeks ago at Sepang. The five-time world champion says the additional 10 days of recovery following the Malaysian round have helped massively but concedes he still isn’t 100% fit.

“I will be riding on Sunday, I feel quite well to be able to ride,” Lorenzo said. “In Sepang I wasn’t or I wasn’t able to fight for something important, top 10 or top 15, I was too slow.

“But luckily the injury has improved so much in the last 10 days, everyday was important and everyday I felt better so now I feel good enough to try to achieve the best result possible for the team.”

Lorenzo will conclude his two years at Ducati this weekend before moving to the factory Honda squad alongside Marc Marquez and he remains hopeful of a strong final showing to provide “one last present” to the Italian manufacturer.

“It will be a very emotional race because this race will close an important chapter in my career so let’s see,” he explained. “Probably the rain will help me to not strain the injury too much as I’m in the last phase of recovery. I’m looking forward to jumping on the bike.

“The first person I have to demonstrate something to is myself but even then I always believe I could go fast on any bike it was just about a matter of time.

“It was a question of time and in time I demonstrated I could be competitive enough to win races, obviously not fighting for the target I wanted to achieve when I arrived at Ducati, but at least the good moments were very good which I enjoyed a lot and I would like to give them one last present by giving them a good race on Sunday.”

Lorenzo feels it is one of the toughest moments in MotoGP history to quickly switch between manufacturers and remain competitive, having opted to move from Yamaha to Ducati at the end of 2016, as he prepares to move on again to Honda next season.

Despite his concerns, the Spaniard remains confident of a smooth transition when given time to adapt to a different bike.

“Obviously we saw both parts, Ducati and myself, that at this moment changing bikes in MotoGP is very difficult because the category’s level is so high,” he said. “Every small time or the little tenths, two or three tenths is very important. You go from winning the race to finishing out of the top 10.

“It is very difficult so if you don’t have everything under control or everything in your package it is very difficult to be competitive.”

Lorenzo has failed to score a single point since winning in Austria in early August, despite taking three consecutive pole positions after that race, as events have transpired against him.

Following the cancellation of the British MotoGP due to safety concerns, Lorenzo crashed out of both the Misano and Aragon rounds – in the latter blaming Marquez for his off – before his heavy highside in practice at Buriram with the resulting injuries effectively ruling him out of the next four rounds.

Lorenzo can still surpass his 2017 championship points tally if he scores eight points – eighth place or higher – in Valencia this weekend.