Jorge Lorenzo will fight for victory in the opening race of the MotoGP season in Qatar, according to Ducati’s test rider Michele Pirro.
The four-time Italian Champion knows the Desmosedici very well. He has been in charge of developing the Ducati from the earliest prototype and Jorge Lorenzo’s himself asked his support also as track analyst for his debut year in Red.
Besides his work as tester, together with Casey Stoner, his main task is to make Lorenzo’s adaptation process to the Italian bike easier.
Since the Malaysian pre-season test we saw Lorenzo and Pirro working side-by-side. The Italian was carefully following the lines of the Spaniard on track and every time Jorge was back in the garage, Pirro was right there exchanging opinions and advising him.
With one week to the start of the opening round of the 2017 MotoGP season, Soup asked Michele Pirro about Lorenzo’s chance for victory in Qatar.
First of all, how is the developing process of the GP17 going?
“The development never stops. In this moment we are fine tuning the whole package, we are working on the details. The new fairing gave the results we expected because it replicates the effect of the wings, but in comparison with the winglets, with the current configuration we lose a bit in terms of speed. I don’t know if it will be used in Qatar race because it’s not the type of track that requires a configuration to reduce the anti-wheeling effect. We will test it for sure at Jerez the week following the first round, because it could be useful in Austin and then in Jerez for the race”.
How do you feel to be the coach of Jorge Lorenzo? Why you and not Casey Stoner?
“First of all I’m not a coach, but a Ducati rider. I have been riding this bike for the past five years and I’m the first to test new material. I’m the only one who tests all the items. My position is test rider, besides this, I support Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso on track. I see this is an added value. I study how they ride from the service road along the track from the point of view of a rider, not an engineer. In addition I know the feeling of riding that bike, so I can give them some feedback. We share a lot ideas and this helps to speed up the development process”.
What advice did you give to Lorenzo? “
Considered that he is 5 times world champion, so he knows how to ride a bike, I told him to try and understand the Ducati and not to try to transform it into a Yamaha. Someone else already tried and didn’t work! The Desmosedici has a unique character and you can be fast if you adapt to the machine, not vice versa. Anyway at the Ducati head quarter in Borgo Panigale the engineers have being working hard to give Lorenzo a bike also according to hi s requests”.
What is the percentage of his adaptation to the bike?
“It’s difficult to give a number, but more than his adaptation I would say that he has a lot of margin in knowing the bike better. Maybe now his knowledge of the Italian machine is at 80%.”
Will he be able to fight for the victory in Qatar race?
“The layout of the Qatar circuit suits the Ducati very well and also Jorge has won a lot on this track. I think that Jorge can really fight for a good result. I think for the podium for sure, but also for the victory, but he will have a strong Maverick Vinales on his way. He has been impressive in the winter test”.
What about Andrea Dovizioso?
I see Andrea very determined, focused and fast. He finished second al Losail in 2016 and 2015, so he can do really well there”.