Jorge Lorenzo was fending off rumours started in the Spanish press that HRC are ready to jettison him at the end of this season if his results don’t improve forthwith.
“Nobody has given me an ultimatum. You always hear these kinds of rumours when your results are bad. But I have a two-year contract, and nobody at Honda has spoken to me about this.”
He had been through similar problems and similar rumours in his previous two years at Ducati, and by the time he had got the bike to his liking and started winning races, a third of the way into his second year, he had already decided to move on. But he went on to prove that he could adapt his smooth style to a very different bike from the Yamaha that took him to three world championships.
“The patience a team has is not up to me … but it’s important we understand this is going to be a long process.”
The switch was not going to come naturally, he continued. “The Honda needs to be ridden braking very late, tipping it in quickly, with a big angle of lean.” He would have to adapt his technique to suit.
“But the same was true of the Ducati. I need more time to adapt,” he said, drawing parallels with Zarco’s difficulties on the KTM.
In line with other Honda riders, he said “the front is not the best point. It is very sensitive. I am having accidents. But we have strong points – in entry, and corner speed.”
Lorenzo was fourth-fastest on the first day of practice at Le Mans, in spite of a crash in the morning. This matched the last race in Spain, although he went backwards from there.
He had switched back to the standard Honda seat, giving him “in terms of benefit, a small step, but a small step is like a victory. We will try more things tomorrow.”
By Michael Scott