Jorge Lorenzo doubts Ducati title challenge

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Jorge Lorenzo believes Ducati will mount a stronger threat in the 2015 MotoGP world championship. But the Spaniard doesn’t believe the Bologna factory will emerge as a serious title threat this season, despite an impressive performance from Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone during last week’s opening pre-season showdown in Malaysia.

A Ducati finished inside the top three on each of the three-day session, with Iannone finishing third overall behind dominant Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Dovizioso was only 0.3s behind Lorenzo in seventh on the leaderboard, with the Italian duo riding a GP14.3 Desmosedici in advance of the much hyped public debut of the radical new GP15 at Sepang 2 later this month.

Iannone and Dovizioso’s encouraging display has raised expectations of a big Ducati revival after a barren winless spell in the premier class that stretches back to 2010. But double MotoGP world champion Lorenzo doesn’t believe Ducati is yet in a position to threaten Honda and Yamaha’s domination of the world championship, which kicks off in Qatar on March 29.

Lorenzo, who finished fifth in Sepang 1, said: “Andrea (Dovizioso) made a very good race simulation. It was not complete but to be constant in the 2.01s means something. Also this is a good track for Andrea because he is always very fast.

“Ducati will be closer but not for winning the championship but I think they can get more podiums than last year."

Ducati scored three podiums in 2014 with two for Dovizioso in Austin and Assen and one for British rider Cal Crutchlow in Aragon.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt