After a weekend of getting battered by Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo did at least have something to celebrate in Texas when he claimed a 100th career podium.
Lorenzo took third in a race he never truly believed he could win as the new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) tormented Yamaha’s YZR-M1 machine and favoured the Honda RC213V.
By salvaging third place he became only the eighth rider in history to reach the 100 podium milestone, though the 21-lap clash was the first time Lorenzo has finished a race outside of the top two since the Motorland Aragon race in September 2011.
The Spaniard, who did not get the beating he’d feared after fighting hard to keep Marquez just over three seconds ahead, said: “I am happier for the 100 podiums than the third position. But the position is very good because after qualifying we were much slower than the Honda and I expected to be 10 or 15 seconds behind them but the gap was only three and this is very good. The last two tenths we just didn’t have to fight for the victory. The gearbox wasn’t set-up properly and I had a problem at the start.
The rear slid a lot off the line like in the practice start earlier so I was left in third position. Probably without this problem I could lead Marc into the first corner because he didn’t start so well and it could maybe change something. But this result was much better than I expected.”
Lorenzo was full of praise for compatriot Marquez, who got the better of a race long tussle with Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa to claim a historic maiden win.
Lorenzo said Marquez’s performance highlighted again just how hard the defence of his MotoGP title will be and he added: “It will be a very hard championship to defend. There are many fast riders but I feel strong mentally and I think we can improve the bike.
Marc did an amazing job and I am happy for him to become the youngest rider in history to win in MotoGP. Marc is an extraordinary rider and he demonstrated that he has a capacity to learn fast and he is riding at a very high level. It is good for him.”
For more reaction from Lorenzo and Marquez, see the April 24 issue of MCN.