Jorge Lorenzo completed the perfect weekend in Jerez, starting from pole to set a new Circuit Record on his way to victory.
The Spaniard was fastest in nearly every session, apart from FP4 and Warm Up, and also set the fastest ever lap on a motorcycle around the 4.4 km Circuito de Jerez in Qualifying, recording a 1’37.910.
This made him the first person on two wheels to break the 1’38 barrier at the track, and he went on to set a new Circuit Record during the race as well, with a 1’38.735, which was over seven-tenths quicker than his previous record from 2013.
Lorenzo’s imperious ride during the race was even better when you consider that after his first lap, he never once dropped into the 1’41’s, a feat that no other rider could manage. In fact, Lorenzo didn’t drop into the 1’40’s until his 16th lap, while Marquez and Rossi could only hold out until their 12th and 13th laps respectively, as their tyre performance dropped.
It was the perfect riposte to the doubters, with many having written off the Spaniards title hopes after he had failed to take a podium in the first three races of the season for the first time in his MotoGP™ career. It seems as though the Circuito de Jerez has indeed once more become “Lorenzo Land”.
Lorenzo, who turns twenty-eight tomorrow, was clearly looking to kick-start his 2015 season in Jerez and he seemed pretty pleased with his efforts: “I am absolutely proud of myself and of the team that we finally delivered some extraordinary work, because we had some problems that have been beyond our control. Due to the lining of the helmet in Doha, my illness in Austin and the tyres in Argentina we couldn‘t demonstrate our true potential. This time I could do it during the whole weekend and especially on braking. Sometimes it happens that on Sunday I feel a bit worse on braking than during the rest of the weekend, but today that didn‘t happen. I was able to brake really late, enter well into the corners, and carry good corner speed and acceleration, so everything was fine.”
Marc Marquez rode through the pain with his broken finger today to secure only his second podium of the season, after his race win in Austin, although he refused to blame his performance on his injury: “If I was riding more aggressive like always, I started to get arm pump and in the end we couldn’t manage. Of course we thought that maybe we could be faster, but today the finger is not the excuse, Jorge was faster than us.”
The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion explaining afterwards that he experienced a moment of déjà vu during the race: “I saw that Valentino was closing in on me and I thought “it’s going to be Argentina all over again” but I gathered strength and this time I was able to maintain the gap between us.”
Valentino Rossi had to settle for third, but became the first person to ever take 200 Grand Prix podiums in the process, admitting afterwards that he too had flashbacks from Argentina: “I had one moment in the race where I was not doing so bad and I was close to Marc. We hoped for another good fight until the end and I thought I could do it, because I got the gap down to one second, but had to give up.”
Rossi took his first podium back in the 125cc class at the Austrian Grand Prix in 1996. Since then, he has racked up more than any other rider in the history of grand prix motorcycle racing, with the legendary Giacomo Agostini second on the all-time list with 159. Still though, the Italian is not resting on his laurels: “I have scored a lot of points and scored two victories and four podiums. This time I extended my lead to Dovizioso, but it looks like Jorge also came back into the championship with this victory. He is just 20 points behind, but the championship is still long.”
One thing is for sure, the way this season is going not many would bet against Rossi adding to this tally, and maybe, just maybe going onto take his tenth MotoGP™ title. Problem is, Marquez will not give up the Championship without a fight, plus Rossi now has the small matter of a resurgent Jorge Lorenzo to contend with.