Photography by Gold & Goose
It’s not often that you’re going to hear Jorge Lorenzo say that he’s resigned himself to finishing third, fourth, or fifth. But that’s the case for tomorrow’s Red Bull Grand Prix of Americas as the Movistar Yamaha rider realizes that barring something bizarre occurring, he stands little chance of winning.
“My chances for tomorrow – third, fourth or fifth position would be the realistic position,” Lorenzo said after qualifying fifth on the factory Yamaha - .470 of a second behind pole sitter Marc Marquez. “Races always happen some things and can happen tomorrow. It can rain also and in the rain anything is possible, but in a dry, normal race, from third to five would be a good position.”
Lorenzo is happy with the improvements the team has made to his M1, but it’s not enough to run with the Hondas.
“We make a good direction from the first practice yesterday,” Lorenzo said. “But it is still too far. I make a very good lap time, one of the best in my career, but it was not enough. I am trying my best to stay there, close to top guys, but here it is difficult. We struggled last year and we struggled this year, maybe a little more. We have to start the race, don’t crash again and try to finish from the third to the fifth position tomorrow. If nothing strange happens, this is the best position. But we have to finish the race, the race is very long, and something can happen always.”
Lorenzo will use the softest compound tire available to him tomorrow with Bridgestone bringing the 2013 tires to COTA after a production problem kept them from bringing the 2014 tires. Lorenzo says the gap would be even bigger if he was forced to use 2014 tires here.
“With the Qatar tire, we would be even worse.”
Lorenzo believes the improvements he made in practice and qualifying will translate to the race.
“We improve a little bit on the braking, but it is still too far from the Honda,” he said.
As for race strategy: “I will try to keep this distance, but it will be difficult. I made a very good lap time and also Valentino [Rossi] I think make a very good lap time. Maybe in the warm-up we can solve something.”
Lorenzo will start the race from the second row with NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro on one side and his teammate Rossi on the other side.
“The tarmac in the start is a little bit dirty so I hope I don’t have the same problem as last year and start to spin,” Lorenzo said. “I lose positions instead of gaining, but the start is important to overtake, if possible, Aleix [Espargaro] and some of the riders to catch [Marc] Marquez and [Dani] Pedrosa. We will see what happens.”