Jorge Lorenzo admits he was ‘scared’ in Assen

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Former MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has publicly apologised after his disappointing thirteenth place during the Dutch TT admitting he was scared to take the risks required.

The Mallorcan had qualified down in ninth position, but had managed to rise to as high as sixth position before he was came in to switch to the slick tyres on his second bike. He waited a couple of laps longer than the majority of the field to make the switch, and that saw him plunge down the order, forcing him to take risks if he wanted to climb back through the field. Risks he wasn’t willing to take after last years accident.

Lorenzo admitted he was happy in the fully wet conditions, and happy in the fully dry conditions, however he lost all confidence and became ‘scared’ of the bike in the slightly damp conditions whilst on the cold slick tyres, which saw him drop right down to seventeenth position behind the likes of Danilo Petrucci and Hiro Aoyama.

Last season Jorge Lorenzo suffered a broken collar bone when he had a violent, fast highside during a soaked Thursday practice, before heading home for surgery and returning to race, finishing in fifth position, just two days later.

“It has probably been my worst race in MotoGP. The worst finishing positions,” said a brutally frank Lorenzo, speaking after the TT in Assen.

“The bike worked well in the wet. The bike also worked well in the dry. But I was not confident enough. I was just scared at this track. When I saw the rain spitting in some corners I just didn’t want to take risks. 

“So today has been 100 percent my fault. I was to apologise to the team, the people that work with me and the fans because I was unable to be brave, to be fast in these track conditions like the other riders.”

Lorenzo came through the lower field late in the race, managing to get into the points and up to thirteenth place, posting his fastest lap of the race on his penultimate lap of the race. 

“It was a pity. In the dry we were competitive, but in these conditions it was my fault. Not being brave and not being competitive. Last year I made something impossible, this year was the opposite. I was the more scared rider. 

“When I saw some spitting in some corners on the dry tyres I just didn’t want to take the risk to crash again and be injured again at this track. Probably the memory of last year was making me too cautious of the risks and too afraid to be fast. Every time I saw the spitting and felt the bike move a bit I got some flashbacks. In the last laps when it stopped spitting my performance was more acceptable, but not before. 

“I’ve won races where you change the bike, but we don’t have many races in conditions like this, with rain on slicks. Today I was too scared. You have to admit it, accept it and try to find out why. Luckily these conditions don’t happen often.”

The race in Assen summed up Lorenzo’s season thus far, as he sits in fifth position in the World Championship, ten points behind Andrea Dovizioso and only 14 ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the open Yamaha. With no contract confirmed yet for 2015, Jorge Lorenzo will be hoping to get his season back on track sooner rather than later. 

Magical Marquez makes it eight straight

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MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez won his eighth race out of eight in difficult conditions during a flag to flag thriller at the Dutch TT in Assen. He was joined on the podium by Andrea Dovizioso and team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

The race was delayed after a late rain shower passed over the Dutch circuit, leaving the riders to decide upon wet or slick tyres after two sighting laps.

Marquez judged the conditions to perfection, starting on his wet bike, and swapping to his dry one on the seventh lap in spectacular fashion as ever, he managed to keep his record at 100, despite facing early competition from an aggressive Dovizioso. Marquez eventually pulled away, and won the race by a comfortable 6.7 seconds, becoming the first man to win the opening eight races in 43 years since Giacomo Agostini managed the same feat.

“It was so difficult because of the conditions and it was quite dangerous, but my team were so clever and I was calm and was able to concentrate on my riding,” said Marquez. “Of course it was a difficult race because of tyre wear and then the track started to dry; I felt better and better in those conditions and my pace was good. I felt good to try to close the difference and I pushed to catch Dovi and overtake him. 

“The team had everything under control and that helped me a lot because if it is all panic then that can affect you, but I was calm because of my team. Of course there was a question mark if we should start with slicks or with wets, but we thought slicks were too dangerous and we started with wet tyres.”

Dovizioso gave Ducati their second podium of the season in what looked like a step forward for the Italian, and he will be hoping that they can continue this form in Germany. Dani Pedrosa overcame pole man Aleix Espargaro in the battle for the final podium spot after a race long battle between the Open bike and the factory RC213V. Espargaro in the damp conditions appeared to be enjoying smoother power delivery on the under powered Yamaha bike.

Valentino Rossi will be ruining his gamble at the start of the race after finishing in fifth place. The Doctor gambled and started the race on slick tyres from twelfth place, but he had to stop and change to wets, before a few laps later having to come back down pit lane to get back onto slick tyres. Despite cutting through the field on the slicks it was all too little, too late to have a major impact on the outcome of the race.

Andrea Iannone had another impressive outing, finishing in sixth with Alvaro Bautista finishing just ahead of Bradley Smith, with Cal Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl rounding out the top ten.

Marquez knows the run will end at some point

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Defending MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez insists he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite winning the open seven races of the season.

The 21 year-old is leading the World Championship by 58 points, although he is fully aware his run could come to an end at any race, bringing his record breaking start to the season to an end.

Marquez has seen his victory margin shrink with every race this year, with the Catalan Grand Prix the closest Grand Prix this season, with Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi challenging Marquez right until the final corner. Leaving many thinking this weekend could see Marquez fail to stand on the top step for the first time this season.

“We are still in enjoying a really good momentum but we know it can’t go on forever!” said Marquez, who is looking for his first MotoGP win at Assen after finishing second to Valentino Rossi last season.

“I really like Assen and have had some good results in the lower categories, and last year we took second in my first visit there on the MotoGP machine. 

“The weather is always unpredictable there so we will, as always, work hard from the first session to find a good setup.”

The weather could prove to be a key this weekend, with rain predicted to fall on Thursday and race day, it could be another scenario similar to Catalunya where every rider is waiting for the rain to arrive in the race. Marquez will not want to stop his record, although he is aware of the Championship implications a crash could have.

Ducati eye eight bikes in 2014

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Could Ducati be building four customer Desmosedici's for 2014?

Could Ducati be building four customer Desmosedici’s for 2014?

Ducati are currently considering building a Production racer of their Desmosedici MotoGP prototype, to race in MotoGP next season.

Ducati are looking at making four production bikes, much like Honda are doing with their RC213V prototype, to run in MotoGP said Ducati director Paolo Ciabatti in Assen.

The bikes would be a replica of the current Desmosedici, but would offer more development chances due to the allowances of 12 engines, 24 litres of fuel. They would have to use the full control ECU system next year, but the chances to help develop the machines for 2015 is proving to be an attractive proposition for Ducati.

“Since the new rules came out for next year, where it is actually possible for a full MotoGP bike to run in what would have been the CRT class – using the single ECU and single software – we are considering to make available the 2013 bike with this package.

“It has an advantage in terms of fuel; they will have 24 litres while the full MSMA MotoGP entries will have only 20, 12 engines instead of five and no frozen development for the engines.

“We think it could be an interesting package for some of the private or satellite teams and we are working on this plan. Ideally, we think we will make four available. We are discussing with some teams but nothing has been decided yet.”

Ciabatti said that Ducati want to know their 2014 aims before the summer break that comes after the Laguna Seca round at the end of July.

If Ducati do indeed make the production bikes, it will add another option for current satellite teams. As well as the current CRT bikes, teams would have the option of the Honda or Ducati Production racer. Or a Yamaha full-spec M1 engines for lease.

Yamaha confirm Lorenzo return

The World Champion returned to Assen in the early evening after surgery at 2am.

The World Champion returned to Assen in the early evening after surgery at 2am.

Yamaha have confirmed that World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is back in Assen and hopes to take part in warm up, and subsequently tomorrow’s Dutch TT.

Lorenzo broke his left collarbone during a crash in FP2 in Thursday afternoon, and was then chartered back to Barcelona for surgery in the early hours of Thursday morning.

But now the world champion is hoping to race tomorrow.

Under guidance from doctors riders aren’t allowed to ride less than 24 hours after being seduced, hence the urgency for Lorenzo to get operated on.

Now Lorenzo is back in Assen, he will have to prove his fitness in the morning warm up. If he is declared fit, he will line up in 12th position on the grid.

In a statement released by Yamaha this evening, they confirmed the world champions movements and intentions.

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“Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo returned to the Assen circuit at 6.15pm today to be reunited with his team. The World Champion flew directly from Barcelona following surgery last night to repair a broken left collarbone sustained in Thursday’s second free practice.

Lorenzo is in positive mood following the operation but is understandably tired after an exhaustive day so will now rest before attending a medical check tomorrow morning to be cleared for the MotoGP Warm Up session. Should he be cleared to ride he will then attend a further medical check following the session along with a team consultation before making a decision on whether to participate in the afternoon’s race.

A further update will be released following tomorrow morning’s medical check to confirm Lorenzo’s participation in the MotoGP Warm Up session.”

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Some of Lorenzo’s rivals have also been talking about the return of the World Champion.

“If Jorge is confident and feels good enough to race tomorrow it’s a good choice,” said team mate Valentino Rossi. “If tomorrow he doesn’t feel good or has pain then it’s a good choice not to race. He’s fighting for the championship, so if he wants to try it’s a good choice [to try and ride].”

Whilst main title challenger Dani Pedrosa think Lorenzo just needs to play it by ear. ”It’s brave from Jorge but only he knows how he feels and how he is after waking up from the surgery. Every injury is different and he’s the only one who can judge it. It’s very painful racing with a broken collarbone, when I broke mine last time I raced many weeks later and I couldn’t really make the braking. After all that surgery I wasn’t feeling well because of the medication.”

Close friend, and pole sitter Cal Crutchlow spoke of his own experince racing at Assen with a collarbone injury, and spoke fondly of Lorenzo. ”If he rides he’s my hero!

Lorenzo has been attempting press ups in his motorhome this evening ahead of tomorrows check.

Lorenzo has been attempting press ups in his motorhome this evening ahead of tomorrows check.

“I broke my collarbone at Silverstone in 2011 and when I came back here [two weeks later] I had a medical test of press-ups. So if he passes it he’s strong. Maybe he can do some meditation or something before and then go for it!  If he passes it I’m sure he can ride. Riding the bike is probably easier than the press-ups.

“If there is a chance to race, you always race. You have to be wise because there is a lot more risk of further damage. But the instinct as a rider is always to get back on immediately.”

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