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Jorge Lorenzo Starts Talking About Ducati

Reportedly under a gag order from Yamaha through the end of his contract on December 31, Jorge Lorenzo is finally opening up to the media about his new team and his new bike. Yamaha also restricted Lorenzo to a single test on the Ducati last year … at Valencia following the final race. Now, Lorenzo can test regularly, beginning at Sepang later this month.

Having seen the Ducati riders’ success last year (including two wins), Lorenzo was expecting his new bike to be good. Immediately quick at Valencia, Lorenzo stated “I knew that I would be relatively fast and that I would be comfortable, and so I was.” Lorenzo says he also won’t have to change his smooth style despite the Ducati’s past reputation as a bike requiring the rider to wrestle it, rather than finesse it around the track: “I was convinced that I wasn’t going to change my style despite riding a Ducati, and it won’t change … I may modify some small details and evolve, but the bike will not make me change my style.”

Lorenzo opined the Ducati is already a very good bike, but, of course, has areas needing improvement. Apparently, Lorenzo gave valuable feedback to Ducati following the Valencia test, and expects to ride a refined machine at Sepang. Lorenzo will be working with former World champ Casey Stoner this year, who serves as a test rider for Ducati among other roles.


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41 Comments

  1. jack says:

    The biggest question will be the Ducati (remember the winglets) Even at the post season test at Aragon They were the only bike using them. JL did well on the Duc with the wings, but has never ridden it without yet. Without the wings to help stop Wheelies they will have to dial down the power coming out of the corners and killing their top speed advantage. The next test will show more how competitive JL will be.

  2. dman says:

    Some good commentary here, and not too much sniping. If you factor in the weather, 2016 was one of the best seasons ever, and with JL on a fairly competitive bike, and MV on a very competitive one, 2017 is just enough of a shakeup that it could be even better. Not to mention WSBK with Nicky on a new, and hopefully fast, bike. I can’t wait!

  3. MotoMaster39 says:

    I hope JL does well on the Duc, but overall 2017 is gonna boil down to MM vs MV. Rossi and Lorenzo will likely be riding a lot of lonely races this year, unless they find each other on track. Then, Lorenzo will have a lot of passing power on the straights, assuming he can finesse the Duacati through the twisties.

  4. VLJ says:

    We all know who the top four threats for the title are for 2017, but who do you think will prove to be the pleasant surprises of the season?

    I’m going with Andrea Iannoni (not much of a surprise there), and Johann Zarco. Riding a Tech 3 Yamaha satellite bike, Zarco has zero chance of winning the title, or even of winning any dry races, but I have a feeling he will punch far above his weight class and put a decent dent in the aspirations of some of the higher-profile riders.

    What about the trendy choice, Cal Crutchlow? Sure, I suspect Crutchlow will put in another worrying season for the factory boys; however, inconsistency and a penchant for crashing will again result in too many DNFs, preventing him from being a real factor in the final tally.

    Conversely, who do you think will fall on their face next season?

    I’m tempted to say Jorge Lorenzo, since expectations are so high for him, but I suppose it’s a relative thing. Will his season be considered a major disappointment if he wins a race or three while still finishing well off the podium in terms of total points? I can easily see that happening. I can also see him getting off to a slow start, with Dovi finishing ahead of him early on, and he mentally packs it in. Time and again Lorenzo has proven that when he decides things aren’t just right, he ends up not even being a factor in the race.

    I can see that happening a lot next year, and not just in the wet, per usual.

    He’s not my top pick, however. The guy that I think will be in way over his head is Alex Rins. I don’t expect him to be anywhere near as competitive as his new teammate, or the guy he replaced on the factory Suzuki. I suspect he will be overwhelmed early on, and it will be all downhill from there.

    I also think this may be Dani’s swan song. He’s not going to hang with his teammate. He’s not going to hang with Vinales. Rossi will gap him. Crutchlow will beat him as often as he beats Crutchlow. Iannoni and Lorenzo will either DNF or beat him. Dovi will often beat him, and even Zarco may finish ahead of him more often than he should.

    I see a lot of sixth- and seventh-place finishes for #26, and only a precious few podiums.

  5. Vrooom says:

    My prediction right now is Rossi, Vinales, Marquez, Lorenzo, Iannone. the rest of the top 10 are tougher as Crutchlow, Pedrosa, Dovi, and the Espargo brothers may find their way up there.

  6. Buckwheet says:

    MV will degrade Rossi, & challenge MM for the title. …hoping MV wins it 2017!
    Rossi will retire.

  7. Auspuff says:

    Lorenzo will be just fine.

    As for Yamaha, well, that Rolling-Circus will continue to be just that, as Rossi is such a Cash-Cow for MotoGP, Yamaha is certainly being fed BIG BUCKS from the Organizers just to keep him on a competitive bike.

    And, my comment has absolutely nothing to do with whether you like Rossi or not.

    Consider the facts:

    The biggest draw for MotoGP is one rider, Rossi (why, we don’t know). And, to keep that star in the lime- light, Yamaha has chucked numerous riders to the weeds, even an, at the time, reigning World Champion, with many more years left in his career. Additionally, it is almost certain Rossi is being fed better parts, and tires, to remain competitive, because, well, ya’ gotta’ keep the Cash-Cow in the lime-light to satisfy the legions of the rabid fans.

    Conspiracy? No, as this has happened before in NASCAR, Indy Car, and even F1. Remember, money talks, as the pure sport of it is dead, as are real enthusiasts, now replaced with Fans. Fans care nothing for the Sport, the Machines, the Physics, or the Competition. To them, it is all about their Hero.

    • Scott says:

      Sorry you’re so bitter. I still enjoy the hell out of the racing, and I’ve been a “fan” since Kenny and Freddy were battling it out…

    • VLJ says:

      “The biggest draw for MotoGP is one rider, Rossi (why, we don’t know).”

      Actually, we do know. Anyone who has followed Rossi’s career since the 1999 250cc Grand Prix season knows exactly why #46 always has been and always will be the biggest draw in the sport.

      “And, to keep that star in the lime- light, Yamaha has chucked numerous riders to the weeds, even an, at the time, reigning World Champion, with many more years left in his career.”

      Which reigning world champion has Yamaha ever chucked to the weeds? If you’re referring to Jorge Lorenzo, well, you simply have your facts wrong. He chose to leave on his own. Yamaha wanted to retain him, but he opted instead for the Brinks truck that Ducati backed up to his door.

      “Additionally, it is almost certain Rossi is being fed better parts, and tires, to remain competitive.”

      Actually, again, it is an absolute certainty that Rossi was not receiving better parts than Lorenzo, and certainly not better tires. Everyone in the MotoGP paddock knows precisely which tire is which, and every team receives the same choices of tires.

  8. Mugwump says:

    ABR. That should make me pretty popular.

  9. silver says:

    “Talking” will lead to “Complaining” in no time.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “I was convinced that I wasn’t going to change my style despite riding a Ducati, and it won’t change”

    (more) famous last words.

    no worries Jay, I won’t be holding you to them.

  11. Tommy D says:

    I tend to cheer for the underdog. Even more so when that underdog is Rossi. My Prediction – I think the same riders will be at the front this year with another addition; Vinales. Rossi will rely on his tire management to pull off a bunch of podiums with a couple wins. Vinales will win more races but crashing may be his downfall for points in the championship. Marquez and Lorenzo will be battling for the Championship again this year. I just see more wins from Jlo on the Duc as his cooler head will get the Duc across the line rather than crashing out in the lead. If it rains a lot then all bets are off.

    • mickey says:

      It’s hard for me to view 9 time WC, and multi time runner up finisher Rossi on a factory Yamaha as an underdog. Realistically Marquez is his only competiton. Lorenzo has had too many “issues” lately, to be competitve throughout the season and now that he’s on an unfamiliar ride he’s a real question mark. Vinales has little experience at this level, and Pedrosa has not done well since Marquez joined the team.
      IMO Rossi only needs to play it smart and have some good luck for himself and some bad luck to come Marquez’s way for him to secure a 10th title. Hardly puts him in an underdog position. Vinales is an underdog, Pedrosa is an underdog, Crutchlow is an underdog, Dovi is an underdog.An underdog is generally someone who doesn’t stand a snowballs chance of winning. Hardly describes Rossi.

      • VLJ says:

        Fully agree with all of that, except for one thing. I think you’re dismissing Vinales a bit too cavalierly. Following his Moto2 title, this will be his third season in MotoGP. He’s no neophyte. He won a dry race last season, and was consistently one of the top qualifiers. Also, above all else, he’s very level-headed. He isn’t your typical young gun who’s fast but flighty. With #25 there’s none of that mercurial good angel/bad angel crap of an Andrea Ianonni. Both on and off the track Maverick’s maturity and calculated confidence belie his date of birth.

        He’s an experienced rider.

        Now that he has a top-shelf ride and team, he could definitely prove to be a serious threat to Marquez, Rossi, and Lorenzo. I’d call Marquez #1 with a bullet, and Rossi and Vinales are numbers 2 and 2A, it’s that close between them. Vinales on the Yamaha is certainly less of a question mark than Jorge is on the Ducati.

        • mickey says:

          I’m reserving final judgement on Vinales until after the 2017 season. We have seen others that were going to step into those shoes (if you remember the Spies hype). Competing on a factory ride at this level week in and week out will test a man’s resolve. Let’s see how Vinales stands up to the pressure. The pressure on him this year is going to be incredible. There was really no pressure on him on the Suzuki, it was do the best you can son. This year it will be, you are part of the big league now, don’t let us down. mentally much different scenario. He will be expected to battle the 3 or 4 best riders on the planet and produce.

          • Randy D. says:

            Vinales battled the top riders all last year. This year he should have a real competitive bike every race. I expect him to be a real factor this year.

          • mickey says:

            Yea not really, he battled for 4 th 5 th and 6 th most of the time. He had some good races, had a win, a couple podiums, but he was not a serious title threat to Marquez, Rossi and Lorenzo. Like I said I will reserve judgement until after the 2017 season and see how he handles the pressure of a top factory ride and very accomplished fast company. The guys he will be racing and expected to beat have won, what 19 World Championships or so? High hill to climb.

          • VLJ says:

            To be fair, the reason Rossi, Lorenzo, and Marquez were the only real contenders for the title last year is quite simple. They were the only riders on full factory Hondas and Yamahas. Well, besides Dani.

            Over the last decade, those four rides offered the only chance at championship glory. Realistically, unless one of those four missed races, everyone else was racing for fifth place, and there’s your Suzuki-mounted Maverick Vinales.

            Now he has one of those four rides, so, barring injury, you can automatically bump him into the top four. Perhaps the ascendant Ducati might shuffle the order next season, but that’s a 2017 thing. Ducati has not posed a serious championship threat during Maverick’s tenure in MotoGP, and neither has Suzuki. #25 did the best with what he had. #’s 93 and 99 wouldn’t have a single MotoGP title between them had they been stuck on a Suzuki, Ducati, or anything other than one of those four Honda or Yamaha rides.

            Full stop.

          • mickey says:

            yea it doesn’t take much of a prognosticator to predict that the next WC will be riding one of the factory Yamahas or Hondas (and in a long shot due to 99’s past experience, a factory Ducati)and in that respect I guess Vinales has as good a shot as Marquez,or Rossi,or Lorenzo taking the title… but being the conservative I am, I would not wager the deed to my house (or the title to my CB1100 even) on Vinales winning it all. But that’s just me.

  12. Hot Dog says:

    Didn’t JLo and GiGi win the 250 title together? They could be formidable.

  13. mickey says:

    Jeezalou I can’t wait for the season to start

  14. joe b says:

    The rider changes this year, should give Rossi the chance to regain his form, and beat everyone. We’ll see. As much as everyone criticized Marquez, it was he who was the professional in the end. Cant wait.

    • VLJ says:

      “The rider changes this year, should give Rossi the chance to regain his form, and beat everyone.”

      How do you figure this?

      Marquez remains the man to beat, and he didn’t change teams or bikes. Rossi beat Lorenzo two of the last three seasons on identical machinery, and should have beaten him all three seasons. Lorenzo moving to Ducati really doesn’t help or hinder Rossi, especially since Lorenzo’s replacement on the factory Yamaha will likely be every bit as competitive as Jorge was last season.

      In terms of the top championship contenders, 2017 looks to be the same as 2016, only with Vinales now added to the mix, and Lorenzo being a big question mark.

      As it stands at the moment, Marquez has to be the prohibitive favorite, with Rossi perhaps having a slight and very debatable edge over Vinales for second place, and Jorge is the fourth favorite. Then you have Crutchlow, Iannone, Dovizioso, and Pedrosa, in whichever order you wish.

    • Dave says:

      After seeing what Maverick did on the Yamaha his 1st time out, I think we’re going to be back to something more like the two-horse races of years past. The rules and equipment will be more stable and I think Marquez will be the only one who can follow Vinales. Rossi will do well but I can’t see him beating those two with any regularity.

      • VLJ says:

        The question with Vinales will be one of consistency. He’ll be fast, but will he keep it on two wheels, will he avoid serious injury when he falls (one of #93’s most fortuitous traits, in light of how often he used to crash), and, most importantly, will he be like the Marc Marquez of 2015 and take a win-it-or-bin-it approach, or will he be like the Marc Marquez of 2016 and accept a boring fourth-place finish instead of risking everything when it’s just not his day?

        Rossi will score consistent points, and so will Marquez. I have a feeling Lorenzo will suffer a few horrible weekends in between the occasional fast ones, and surrender too many points.

        It remains to be seen how Vinales will respond once he gets his first taste of running with the lead group every weekend. He could easily pull a Schwantz and win a lot of races while losing the championship to more consistent finishers like Rossi and Marquez.

        • Dave says:

          All good points.

          It was great seeing all of the different & new winners, but I believe a big factor was all of the equipment changes (tires, ECU’s, etc.). I think we’ll see the bigger teams finishing more consistently in their places, less wild card performances.

          • VLJ says:

            The other variable that helped even out the field last season was the unusually high number of wet and/or changeable-condition races.

            “Jack Miller here, and I approve this message.”

            “Yeah, well, Jorge Lorenzo here, and you and your crap weather can blow me.”

        • Norm G. says:

          Q: The question with Vinales will be one of consistency. He’ll be fast, but will he keep it on two wheels(?)

          A: no.

          look back across Jay’s career, and you quickly realize the design brief for the M1 is akin that of a jet fighter. it trades off great instability for max maneuverability. in practice this means the bloody thing doesn’t know to keep the “pointy end into the wind”.

          lower (or worse) turn off the TC altogether, and the kit’s going to dump you on your ass. “punch out Maverick”, EJECT…!!! EJECT…!!!

          • VLJ says:

            I don’t know about that. During their time together on the Yamaha, Rossi and Lorenzo crashed much less often than anyone else on the grid. The Honda and Ducati guys in particular were very frequent crashers.

            In fact, the unsung miracle of the Marc Marquez Story is how he was always able to avoid serious injury while crashing so frequently. Rossi, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, they all have seen championship seasons ruined by crashes resulting in injuries that forced them to miss races.

            No matter how often or how badly Marquez crashes, he never breaks a collarbone, fibula, wrist, or anything else. It’s really quite remarkable.

            In any case, the M1 is the universal pick as the most rider-friendly package in the paddock. Coming off the similarly sweet-handling Suzuki, Maverick will feel right at home on the Yamaha, and those electronic rider aids aren’t going anywhere. He will never need to worry about his TC shutting off; that is, unless someone rams him from behind and severs his TC cable. Bwaaa.

          • mickey says:

            No kidding bwaaa

          • VLJ says:

            Just #93 being #93…

            http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2013/09/29/pedrosa-crashes-out-after-marquez-touch/162648

            I always love his innocent sweetie pie act in the post-race pressers. lolol

  15. pacer says:

    This move really excites me. Now I can root for Yamaha with all my heart.

    • TonyZA says:

      Same here. There is something about the personality (ego?) of JL, MM and even CS that just irritates me. Incredible talent but just not likeable.

      • PatrickD says:

        You’ve fallen into Rossi’s trap of using the press to manipulate the masses. Rossi’s cartoon persona isn’t really all that hard to see through, and his main focus has been to beat riders off the track, rather than on it.
        It has brought us the type of people that MM, CS and JL are. They have to ‘circle the wagons’ and be prepared to be hated on a podium in order to succeed. This never happened until someone had the audacity to beat Rossi. That’s not a conincidence.

        • VLJ says:

          If anything, you’re the one that has clearly fallen into the trap of the media’s Rossi’s narrative. You’re actually blaming (crediting?) Valentino Rossi for the personality quirks of three other, very different, world champion riders.

          Oh, and Rossi beats just about everyone on the track too, as well as off of it.

  16. notarollingroadblock says:

    Superbike Planet opines that JL and Casey are not a good match as “team mates” because of their very different riding styles. Given the changed Duc, I don’t know if that matters so much. With all rider changes this year it’s going to be an interesting season (I hope). Also anxious to see Nicky’s speed on the new Fireblade.

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