MotoGP: Lorenzo not thinking of Rossi’s Ducati record

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Jorge Lorenzo says that he’s not concentrating on any of Valentino Rossi’s successes or failures at Ducati as he prepares to embark on his own adventure with the Italian manufacturer after a hugely successful nine seasons with Yamaha.

Speaking at the official launch of the team’s 2017 machines alongside teammate Andrea Dovizioso in the Borgo Panigale factory, the Spaniard was keen to stress that times are very different now than they were only a few years ago before the rival of his 250GP mentor Gigi Dall’Igna from Aprilia, a move that saw a radical change in fortunes for the firm.

“My goal isn’t to try and improve on the results of Valentino. That happened in another time with different people in Ducati and with a different bike and different tyres. I’ve joined in a different era, with new riders, changed technical people, new tyres and different performance from the bike. I won’t compare to him, and I won’t focus my attention on what happened in the past.”

But while he’s nonetheless out to do better than the torrid two seasons endured by his arch-rival at Ducati Lorenzo is also remaining circumspect about his immediate chances of glory on his new machine.

Admitting that despite being pleasantly surprised by the Desmosedici – and especially by it’s powerful engine and huge top speed – on his first outing on it at the end of season Valencia test, time is still needed for both rider and bike to adapt to each other.

“Finally, I can speak about the bike! I needed a couple of laps to completely understand where I was – but it was an unbelievable feeling the first time I reached sixth gear! I had a big smile on my face. The first impression is always important, and the first impression was great.

“No one knows the future, but I don’t think I’m going to fail with Ducati. I don’t know the level that I’m going to achieve soon, but I’m sure that sooner or later I will be competitive and I will be winning races. It would be a big mistake if we just concentrated on becoming world champions though, because that’s the best way to get lost, to get nervous and to make mistakes.

“Our obsession must be to try to improve our package day-by-day and week-by-week; the rider, the team, the people and the bike. Only by doing that, by having the best package of the championship can we become world champions. That should be our focus and our obsession.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer