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.
How I ride: Jorge Lorenzo
Just before his 2018 season went pear-shaped we talked to the three-time MotoGP king about how he transformed his riding technique from 2015 to 2018
How much did things change for you in 2016, when MotoGP switched to unified software and Michelin tyres?
A lot, a lot. When we started testing the new electronics and tyres at the end of 2015 and at the beginning of 2016 it was a huge change, because the first few times I tried the new electronics the engine-braking was always locking the rear wheel, because the software was very old-fashioned and not so sophisticated. It was difficult to ride the bike – you wasted a lot of energy and you were almost two seconds slower. Then little by little, it got better.
The other thing was the Michelins. At the beginning the rear tyre had so much grip and there was nothing at the front, so every time you started to push, on the second or third lap you crashed. Every rider: crash, crash, crash, crash; always mid-corner with throttle. Then Michelin reduced rear grip and improved the front tyre, so little by little the situation was compensated.
At the same time all the teams worked on the unified electronics to make their systems as good as possible. Also, the bikes themselves improved – the engines and chassis. In terms of tyres it depends on the track, but the electronics are still not at the same level as before.
You went from seven victories in 2015 to four in 2016, so did the Yamaha suffer a lot?
Honda suffered more in the first part of 2016, especially in acceleration [due to poor electronics set-up]. We were strong, but our problem was more a problem of tyres than electronics, because I couldn’t feel the front tyre.
Things were difficult, then we had more problems when Michelin went to a harder rear carcass [after Scott Redding delaminated a rear slick at Termas in April 2016]. In preseason testing I had been very quick, but when they brought these new harder tyres it made me weaker, let’s say. We were okay with the electronics, but then Honda improved their electronics so much, while Ducati was already good with the unified software and then they improved in other areas, like the chassis.
How did your riding technique change to suit the new tech?
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.