MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Lorenzo: ‘We will win every race!’
That’s Jorge Lorenzo's MotoGP prediction – IF Ducati can fix the Desmosedici’s last big problem
On the eve of his epic Austrian Grand Prix victory Jorge Lorenzo and several other top MotoGP riders were asked to design their ideal racetracks.
Lorenzo was the only one who drew two different layouts: the first for this season, the second for next year when he will ride a Repsol Honda RC213V.
This year’s design was a square: four 90-degree corners. The inference was straightforward – this is the kind of corner preferred by Ducati’s Desmosedici GP18.
The fact that Lorenzo won at the Red Bull Ring, which is dominated by three in-and-out right-handers, suggests that he knows the strong points of his GP18. And perhaps that’s why he (just) failed to win the previous Sunday’s Czech GP at the considerably more serpentine Brno circuit.
After that close-run second place at Brno, Lorenzo revealed that his R&D focus for the remainder of this season is to fix the Desmosedici’s last big problem: lack of corner speed. A few days later I sat down with him in Austria to discuss these matters. I asked him why he is so keen to improve the GP18’s corner speed when any R&D breakthrough will surely bite him on the backside when he switches factories in 2019.
“Because, if we can improve our corner speed so that we have the same corner speed as the Honda, while keeping our acceleration and braking performance, then we will win every race!” he answered. “If we can do all this and I don’t make a mistake, then Ducati will win the championship.”
Wow, that’s ambitious. But consider this: Lorenzo has taken nine points out of Marc Márquez at the last two races and now stands 71 points behind the championship leader with eight races remaining. True, it’s a tall order, because if he is to overtake his fellow Spaniard he will need to better him by eight or nine points per race. That will be very difficult, but certainly not impossible because Michelin throws curve balls at riders every weekend and because Márquez still isn’t averse to risking everything to win a race, as he proved on Sunday when he had his RC213V making all kinds of shapes as he battled to get the better of Lorenzo.
Also, consider that Ducati has now taken as many victories as Honda, including four from the last six, and after the first five races of the season Lorenzo was already 69 points behind Márquez.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.