Lorenzo: It wasn't the chain…

'It was a different issue to yesterday' - Jorge Lorenzo's luckless start to MotoGP 2019 continues at COTA.
Lorenzo: It wasn't the chain…

A Honda MotoGP machine stopping out on track three times in two grand prix weekends is a highly unusual occurrence.

But that's exactly what has now happened to Marc Marquez and luckless Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Reigning champion Marquez was forced to park his RC213V when the chain jumped off the sprocket during practice in Argentina.

Lorenzo then suffered the same problem during qualifying at COTA (see below). The only good news was that, as with Marquez, the derailed chain didn't tangle and lock-up the rear wheel.

One theory for the chain derailments is that the latest carbon fibre swingarm may be flexing in an unexpected way under certain circumstances, allowing the chain to jump from the sprocket.

When the #99 then pulled off track and out of Sunday's race, again with no obvious smoke or fluid leaking from his machine, another chain derailment seemed likely.

However Lorenzo, who had recovered from 14th to ninth by the time of his lap 11 exit, denied it was the chain on this occasion: "No… It was a different issue to yesterday."

As of Tuesday, the problem was still unclear, team manager Alberto Puig saying: "At this moment we don’t know what happened with Lorenzo’s bike, we are investigating and we need some time to understand what the problem was.”

The latest 'issue' capped a frustrating start to Lorenzo's Repsol Honda career, having also missed the opening 2019 test due to a broken scaphoid, then suffered rib injuries in practice for the Qatar season-opener, followed by startline and then handlebar grip problems in Argentina.

"Very disappointing, because in these three races, three different things happened that prevented us from getting better results," Lorenzo confirmed. "Especially this one, that prevented us from finishing the race. So completely bad luck."

Reflecting on his pace before the problem, the Spaniard said: "At the beginning of the race with full fuel, it was difficult to stop, so I made some strange mistakes for me, because normally I don't make mistakes.

"But I went out of the track twice because I couldn't stop the bike. So I lost one or two positions more.

"We have too much inertia with the new bike, and we need to work on that, to make the bike easier to stop.

"But when I could stay focused, the pace was not extraordinary compared to Marc for example, but I could be a little bit faster than the warm up, and I think that today, with all the crashes, our real position was eighth or ninth. So it was a little bit better than Qatar or Argentina. So it would be a better race, but we couldn't finish it."

Lorenzo thus heads to Europe with only seven points to his name for 17th in the world championship.

"Bad luck or good luck, you cannot change. It happens, or it doesn't. It's happened this time in three races in a row," he shrugged.

"So now we go to Jerez, and the important thing is to be fast there, to be more competitive, not fighting for the third or fourth row, but for the first or second row in the qualifying. Then try to make a much better result in the race.

"I think we can do it, we got some more experience this weekend, and in a better track, like Jerez, we can be competitive."

The good news for Lorenzo is that his numerous injuries, which began at Aragon 2018, are now close to being fully healed.

"It was quite good. [I felt physically] like normal, like other years."

Team-mate and reigning world champion Marc Marquez also failed to finish after falling from the lead.