MotoGP: Lorenzo gets first taste of Formula One

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Reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo has got his first taste for Formula One, after sponsors Monster Energy teamed up with Mercedes to allow the Movistar Yamaha rider the chance to lap Silverstone in Lewis Hamilton’s 2014 title-winning car.

In planning for some time, Lorenzo was finally able to get the opportunity before he heads to Japan for the next round of the MotoGP championship – and says the experience was an exhilarating one.

“First of all I want to say thank you to Monster Energy for giving me this opportunity. It has been a great experience, like a dream come true. The past few days for me have been very special. I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the best engineers in this sport, drove the F2 car, had simulator test sessions and finally, I got to drive the real deal.

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“Today I experienced driving a Formula One car. It’s been an amazing day. I’m very satisfied with the lap time in the last run. From what the engineers were saying, my times were really competitive. The car is so smooth, I expected a more twitchy and difficult car but in the end everything was so good: the steering wheel, the engine, everything.”

However, he also admitted that driving the 1.6-litre V6 (which produces about 750bhp) was easier than he expected.

“It was quite easy to drive and the car in the corners is really, really fast and the grip of the car it’s unreal. In the first lap you feel the power but when you get used to it, it’s similar to a MotoGP bike but in the corners, you are in a different world, about 40kms faster in the middle of the corners. Also it surprised me how late you can brake and the amount of grip the car can support in full throttle in the fast corners is insane.”

And that was backed up by Mercedes AMG Petronas Track Engineer Richard Lane, who oversaw the day, admitting that it was obvious why he was so successful in MotoGP.

“It’s been great working with Jorge today. From the moment he arrived he’s been full of enthusiasm and keen to get stuck in. Between each run he’s been poring over the data, and looking to find areas for improvement. You can see why he’s a multiple World Champion on two wheels. His interest in the detail of his performance has been impressive. He’s taken feedback on board and improved with every run. It’s been a great experience for us to work with Jorge and we wish him all the very best for the rest of the MotoGP season.”

Lorenzo isn’t the first MotoGP racer to venture into an F1 car, with teammate Valentino Rossi testing for Ferrari back in 2010. He finished an official test mid-pack, only 1.6 seconds ahead of the fastest time and faster than many of the championship’s regular drivers.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer