Michelin soft-tyre gamble key to Jorge Lorenzo's Qatar MotoGP win

A late gamble to use Michelin's soft rear tyre was the key to winning the Qatar Grand Prix, MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo believes

Michelin soft-tyre gamble key to Jorge Lorenzo's Qatar MotoGP win

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."

shares
comments
Valentino Rossi surprised by Qatar race pace under new MotoGP rules
Previous article

Valentino Rossi surprised by Qatar race pace under new MotoGP rules

Next article

Yamaha has 'ideas' for who to sign if Jorge Lorenzo leaves in 2017

Yamaha has 'ideas' for who to sign if Jorge Lorenzo leaves in 2017
Load comments
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Plus

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Plus

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Autosport’s pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Plus

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Plus

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Plus

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Plus

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo’s MotoGP title defence Plus

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo’s MotoGP title defence

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
The financial implications fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Plus

The financial implications fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021