MotoGP

Lorenzo: Injury, clutch and bad luck hide true potential

Jorge Lorenzo is certain of far greater potential and results with Repsol Honda after struggling to 13th place on his team debut

Jorge Lorenzo is certain of far greater potential and results with Repsol Honda after struggling to 13th place on his debut for the team having suffered with injury and a clutch issue during the Qatar MotoGP.

The former world champion headed into his Repsol Honda debut nursing a wrist injury sustained over the winter which limited his pre-season testing preparations to just three days on the RC213V in 2019.

But his optimism was cutdown following a nasty high-side at the start of FP3, effectively ruling him out of the entire session, and says he was still feeling the effects in his shoulder during qualifying and the race.

Lorenzo was left lamenting a double dose of bad luck when a spinning clutch problem hampered his early laps in the race, dropping him to 20th at one point, as he recovered to climb to 13th place by the chequered flag.

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Despite his disappointment, Lorenzo felt crossing the finish line 14.307s behind race-winner Andrea Dovizioso acts as a positive and remains confident of having a much stronger potential with Repsol Honda.

“There are many positive things even though it was not a great result because 13th position is never a good result,” Lorenzo said. “But I was very limited because of the crash, it was a big impact everywhere but especially my shoulder which limited my confidence and limited my condition on the bike and from then on I was always slower compared to how I started the weekend.

“In FP1 we started extremely good. We had never been as quick as the first day until the crash. Without the crash I probably would have been directly into Q2 and be in the second or third row, much further ahead than I was, and everything would have changed.

“We tried to change the clutch so to have more margin with the clutch to be better for the start but this was a problem because the clutch was slipping and spinning from the warm-up lap and also the first three laps. This is why I almost went back to last position with five riders overtaking me. I lost three or four seconds but if not I could have been in the top 10.

“Anyway, I think we have, without any doubt, much bigger potential than this 13th position and I think if we are not unlucky at the next races then the good result will arrive soon.”

With Lorenzo not willing to dwell on the negatives, he remains hopeful of a fightback next time out in Argentina with three weeks to heal and a chance to rectify the clutch issue.

“We are okay, we are going to be better, much better in some weeks when we are much fitter,” he said. “Hopefully it is the last injury.

“It could be worse, we always have to think that it could be worse. I think the feeling with the bike is very good we just need to demonstrate our real potential and the results, if we are not unlucky in the next races, they will come very soon.

“Anyway, with all the problems being 15 seconds back is not a lot now that we know the problems that we had.”

Lorenzo’s offs in Qatar mark up his latest injury in a long line of painful crashes for the Spaniard. The 31-year-old hasn’t competed injury-free since last year’s San Marino round – over six months ago – having picked up a broken toe in his first-corner high-side at the start of last season’s Aragon race.

Lorenzo was then ruled out of action for the following four rounds after a nasty off during Thailand practice before returning for his final Ducati outing last November in Valencia.

Hoping to regain a full bill of health over the winter, the three-time MotoGP world champion endured a setback when he broke the scaphoid bone in his left wrist in late January which forced him out of the Sepang pre-season test.

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