A late gamble to use Michelin's soft rear tyre was the key to winning the Qatar Grand Prix, MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo believes.
Lorenzo headed to pole position with a hard front tyre paired with a medium-compound rear on his Yamaha, a strategy Marc Marquez and Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi raced with.
Just before the formation lap, Lorenzo elected to change to the soft rear tyre, a move he admits was a risk.
"The fact in the warm-up I was not very fast and had a lot of problems to keep the pace looking at Maverick [Vinales] that chose the soft tyre and was faster and faster made me question what tyre to choose," said Lorenzo, who set the fastest lap of the race with three laps to go.
"Finally I decided to go with the soft one. Theoretically it should be worse at the end of the race but this time it was the opposite, it was better.
"Not without sliding, because I was sliding so much, even if I look smooth.
"Every time I could brake later and later and open the throttle [earlier], so it was impressive the speed I could get the last few laps."
"And this, even with the pressure of Andrea [Dovizioso], made the difference a little bit in the last three laps.
"When Marc passed Dovizioso the difference increased to one second and I could breathe a bit more deeply."
MotoGP's returning tyre supplier told Lorenzo not to expect a big performance gain with the late switch, and he said the time Ducati's Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso spent in the lead helped keep the softer rubber alive.
Iannone crashed out of second on lap six, before Lorenzo reclaimed the lead - having lost it on the main straight to the Ducatis the first time around - two laps later with a move on Dovizioso.
"Michelin told me the soft tyre will move more than the hard one but the performance will give more or less the same," he explained.
"When Iannone and Dovizioso were leading the race the pace was not very high.
"[Dovizioso] looks like in some corners he was dropping a little bit the pace so I recovered some metres in these corners.
"I decided to pass him in the middle of the track and open the gap in the last sector to avoid his overtaking on the straight.
"This was the key. When I was leading and making the pace higher he was following me.
"I was keeping strong and believing I could be even faster and I think my trust made me win this race, one of my three best races in my career."
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