Lorenzo Learns Laguna

Henny Ray Abrams | July 18, 2008

MONTEREY, CA, JULY 18: Last year, Jorge Lorenzo came to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix as a television commentator for the Spanish national broadcaster TVE. Four days in Monterey gave him a sense of the atmosphere at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but did him little good when he rolled out for his first MotoGP practice on a cool, overcast Friday morning. After an hour on the physically demanding, up-and-down 2.25-mile track, the Fiat Yamaha said the difference between television commentary and riding was that “for sure I will become more tired.” The Spanish MotoGP rookie finished the first session 13th out of 19 riders. There was much to learn in less than ideal conditions. The weather eventually warmed up, but the first 20 minutes were of little use. “The track is so funny, it’s funny and difficult for sure, because there is a lot of elevation,” Lorenzo said. “For a rider is difficult and if you don’t know the circuit, the track is not easy to go fast. Anyway, now we have some problems with the bike that stop our performance and we will try to solve them and go faster in the afternoon.” The problems were partially tire-related. Lorenzo said that the trouble was on corner entry and also in the initial throttle opening. When he opens the throttle, the rear tire comes around, he said. The Corkscrew, which many first-timers find daunting, wasn’t a problem, Lorenzo said. The bigger problem came over turn one, the flat-out crest that rises from the start-finish line and descends to turn two. “For me the most difficult corner is the first corner,” Lorenzo said. The corner is best taken flat out in fifth gear, but Lorenzo said he backed off. “Too much,” he said. He described it as “the part that I lost more time for sure.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.