Photography by Gold & Goose
Jorge Lorenzo managed to smile between questions at his post-practice press conference yesterday, the two-time World Champion trying not to look beaten down after a tough day at the office.
“Yeah quite a bit better,” Lorenzo said after improving to eighth best after free practice 2. “We’ve been third, fourth all the practice at the end they improved my lap times, but compared to the morning much better. We make some modifications in the electronics to try something new in the morning that was not good. So we came back a little bit the electronics from last year and was better. We are not so far from the second place. Very far from [Marc] Marquez, but this track will be difficult to beat him. But until the end you never know.”
Lorenzo can smile all day long but you know the only thing that matters to him is the gap between himself and Marquez. After Friday, that gap was 1.486 seconds.
“You have to assess the situations,” Lorenzo said. “If you get mad and you don’t assess the situation then it’s easy to crash and get injured. So we have assess to make the speed and the position that we can do - no more.”
Lorenzo couldn’t pinpoint where on the track Marquez is better than the rest. It seems to be everywhere.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Lorenzo said. “This track has three quite long straights, but especially one, one kilometer, so the Honda for now is faster maybe five or six ks [kilometers]. Lot of hard braking so the Honda can still brake very late. A lot of turning in first gear so this track suits much better for the Honda at the moment. And you can see in the classification in Qatar some Yamahas were in the top five and now we are quite far [away].”
Lorenzo said there are a few more bumps at Circuit of the Americas than a year ago when the track was brand new.
“I feel just bumpy in the long straight,” he said. “The first moment of braking there’s a big bump at the end of the straight, but for the rest it more of the same.”
Lorenzo was asked if he thought tires would be an issue with the Open class riders getting the softer option.
“Obviously it creates a little bit more problems to the factory riders who doesn’t have this tire because you didn’t make a good start or a normal start,” he said. “Starting in second or third row you have to overtake this type of riders. It’s not so simple. So it’s important to make a good start this year.”
Lorenzo has been openly critical of the tire situation and that hasn’t changed.
“For one side it’s better for the show,” he said. “For another side it can create some more crashes for sure. So it’s difficult to find the compromise between show and safety. It’s not the thing that worries me more now. For me we have to find a tire that suits for all the bikes and all the riders.”