After the Sepang MotoGP tests, where Jorge Lorenzo debuted as Yamaha test rider, the five time world champion spoke out about what he found after his first sessions out on the Yamaha M1 motorcycle.
During the test, Yamaha Petronas’ fast rising star Fabio Quatararo was quickest just 0.082s ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the Castrol Honda. Alex Rins, freshly signed to Suzuki for another two years, was third fastest. Valentino Rossi – who will be replaced with Quatararo in the factory Yamaha squad at the end of the year – was fifth quickest with a time only 0.192s behind Quatararo.
Riding the old M1 and not the development bike, Lorenzo finished up in 20th place on the overall timesheets, 1.348s behind the fastest time. After the on-track action, Lorenzo took time to talk about those first days back on a bike, his pace and if he really does have one eye on Yamaha-backed wild card rides this season (Catalunya in June is being widely-tipped as the first time we will see Lorenzo back in racing action after he retired from the sport last year).
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Jorge said: “During the test, I saw Quatararo overtake me quickly when he came past on his quick lap. He had the right tyres and was really pushing, I was unable to follow him to get an accurate idea of what he was doing.
“With [Maverick] Vinales though, it was different because more of less we ride in a similar way and from him I can follow and understand where something is missing.
“This is important data for engineers because in this way we are understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the M1 2020.
“Other than that I felt better on the bike and the level of feeling increased compared to what it was in the very first tests. The bad thing is that I couldn’t test the new bike for several reasons; unfortunately the rain came too quickly and I wasn’t able to try to log a fast time – I should have looked for the fast time and I should have been on the right tyres.
“All of this now goes into the background because the focus is all on the development of the new bike.
“As for the wild card, I still can’t say much. We will see in the future. If I am competitive and I can take advantage of the opportunity then why not? I will do the wild card if I have the certainty of ending up in a position that matters, otherwise it’s useless to do it.
“Physically, I am well and when I ride the bike, I have no pain. I feel good.”