Jorge Lorenzo has provided an update on the time he requires to be fully prepared as MotoGP rivals talk about the Honda intra-team rivalry.
After his heroics early in the 2018 MotoGP season, Lorenzo had a pretty torrid end to the year where even the announcement of joining Honda in 2019 did not serve a great joy to the Spaniard due to the multiple crashes and injuries suffered.
He not only missed races but his preparation for the 2019 MotoGP season also took a hit as he was forced to miss the Sepang pre-season test while he had to limit his work in Qatar which means that he is in no way 100 percent prepared for the new season.
Talking about the missed runs plus on his recovery during the Qatar GP press conference, Lorenzo said: “Well, we’ve been a little bit unlucky, I’ve been a bit unlucky because in the last six months I never felt that I was 100 percent.
“I’m getting close to that, but I think I still need one full month more to really feel 100 percent, to make more push ups and do all the things you can do when you are healed. But I’m quite well to ride a bike, I’m better than in the test. I feel fitter, I feel stronger.
“For sure I missed a lot of kilometers with Honda. It was a big pity to not be able to test in Sepang and also in Qatar a bit. For sure, it would be much better if I had tested in Sepang and also in Qatar fully fit but things are like that.
“I tried a race run in the test where my plan was to do 10 laps, but unfortunately the temperature dropped a lot and also the humidity, so going quite smooth, I crashed in Turn 2. Hopefully, the race can start early.
“If I am able to improve little bit the bike, the setting and if I feel good on the bike then I am sure, I’ll be able to have a great pace on the race which is my goal which is what I am going to try to do.”
Teammate Marquez also commented on the ‘strange’ pre-season test for Honda riders. “It has been a strange pre-season for the Repsol Honda Team and my side,” he said. I miss some long runs, of course, because I am one of the guys who likes to do them.
“But I’m happy with the pace that I have, I’m happy with how I felt on the bike. Here in Qatar, I was thinking to do a long run [in the test], but the conditions we had on the race track will be completely different to the ones we will have on Sunday.
“Of course Sunday will be different, so the most important for me is about physical condition: I feel ready. About the bike, still we have margin to improve.” While Lorenzo needs a month, Marquez is expected to be fit by Argentina race.
It will be a big year for Honda in terms of handling two fighting world champions – as seen in the past, it is never easy. Their MotoGP rivals also think the same as they also fear for themselves with such a potent line-up.
“Well, it’s very difficult now to understand what will happen, because to beat Marc I think is very, very, very difficult,” Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso. “And unfortunately Jorge had some [injury] problems, so we still can’t see the maximum of Jorge yet.
“But he has two years, so he has a lot of time to work on that. You never know with Jorge, the results he can achieve. So I think it will be nice to see that fight. I don’t know if it will be negative for us or positive. Everything can happen.”
Another of Lorenzo’s former teammate, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, said: “I think it will be very interesting. It’s one of the key [talking points] of the season. Usually when you have two great champions in the same team, you have some advantages.
“At the same time, there are some disadvantages [as well], for managing the situation. But usually it’s more an advantage. So it will be hard to beat them.” Giving a more nuetral perspective was Suzuki’s Alex Rins:
“I think it’s a very good combination. It will be difficult to battle Marc, because he has a lot of experience with this bike and sometimes it’s difficult when you arrive at another bike and try to win. It’s difficult, but not impossible. I think it will be difficult for us.”
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