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https://www.shannons.com.au/club/bike-news/jorge-lorenzo-wins-back-to-back-grand-prix-events-with-ducati/

Jorge Lorenzo threw his hammer down and crushed his competition in style to win the 2018 Barcelona-Catalunya MotoGP race. The race start was not precise for Lorenzo and in fact, Marc Marquez rocketed off from the start line in an unexpected fashion. Unfortunately, for Marquez, he struggled with bringing temperatures to his harder compound front tyre which made his race in the first few laps incredibly challenging. Throughout the course of the weekend, Marquez experienced crashes, saves and also pressure to perform in order to stay ahead in the World Championship and in fact used his mind instead of his adrenaline to be a tad conservative to achieve a second place finish. Race of the day goes to Lorenzo who rode an incredible race even when his start was poor. He put in lap times that were impressive from start to finish and was over the moon considering his last few weeks on board the Ducati machine. Bravo JL99. It was heartbreak and joy in the Ducati garage with Andrea Dovizioso crashing out making another personal mistake under immense pressure and scrutiny as his teammate outshines him at present. DesmoDovi in 2017 rarely put a foot wrong, however, in 2018, he has made some serious errors and actually goes behind in the title race putting Lorenzo ahead of him based on number of race wins. Lorenzo on the race: “Today’s win was really fantastic! We showed that we can win not only by entering the first turn in first place, but also by recovering and overtaking the others. It was actually a complicated race because I got off to a bad start and lost a lot of metres to Marquez, but I told myself that the race was long and I had to keep calm. It wasn’t too difficult to take Marc, because I had that little bit extra under braking, but he stayed pretty close to me right down to the flag. Now we’ve got a very competitive package and I think that this is the most complete Ducati bike of all time: both Dovi and I this weekend have always been competitive. We must capitalize on this situation because the Desmosedici works well at virtually every track, it doesn’t consume the tyres too much, and this is a big advantage. Now let’s enjoy this win and then we’ll think about the next race.” Credit is due and given to the former World Champion.

In contrast, Dovi found it hard to accept and was on the verge of crying from what we could see inside his garage. Dovi: “The crash was my fault because I was pushing hard because I didn’t want to lose contact with Jorge and Marc. Unfortunately, in the race there wasn’t as much grip as in the morning and I wasn’t able to ride in the same way. I didn’t expect that, I came into the turn too quickly and crashed under braking. A real pity because once again here we were fast and we could have scored a lot of points, but now we can only look ahead because we know we are fast everywhere, and even though we still have to improve several aspects, we are always fighting for the win. We’ll start to think about the championship when the time comes, but for the moment we’re only thinking about winning races.” So if you analyse the decisions of the Italian rider, you find yourself questioning whether Lorenzo has psyched him out mentally and if Dovi can recover. Right now, we see a mentally defeated Andrea Dovizioso and a rider that is lost. He is not feeding off the successful energy of Ducati and rather appears to be pushing too hard when he knows it is not required. The Italian is at his best when he is calm and relaxed. We would love to be a fly on the wall inside the Ducati debriefs to hear some real concrete thoughts on why Dovi has made those mistakes so early in to the season. He may say that it has nothing to do with Lorenzo, however, we feel it totally does and that winning back to back races is eating in to the positivity of DesmoDovi on a weekly basis. A weak teammate to a strong teammate has a guaranteed impact on the mindset of any high quality athlete.

Lorenzo versus Marquez was beautiful to watch especially since they are teammates at Repsol Honda for the 2019 season. A dynamic duo and what a spectacular 2018 season we have left to enjoy with these two going head to head once again. Respect is clear on the track between these two because they are both calculated, aggressive when required and sometimes polar opposites in terms of riding styles. Marquez: “Today was a race where we had to manage as best as possible and I tried to be smart. Of course in the first laps I pushed hard because it was important to follow Jorge and to open a gap on the chasers. When we built a comfortable advantage I just managed the pace. I even slowed down a bit in the final part of the race as it was impossible to catch Lorenzo. I saw many crashes, which made me think more than I did in other races. Sometimes the tyre choice you make doesn’t result in the exact feeling you were hoping for, but I think that second is very good for the Championship because we arrived here with a 23-point lead and go to Assen with 27. It’s time to understand how the situation is and try and manage it as best as possible. We made a mistake in Mugello and that had me thinking a lot. Of course, when you don’t win the feeling that you were missing something remains, but a podium is a good result!” You can be friendly in the paddock though not friends on the world circuit because if you let your guard down, someone is bound to rock your mentality and use weaknesses against you. This is true for Marquez, Lorenzo, Rossi and others. It is business.

When you look at the rest of the grid, Cal Crutchlow rode a wonderful race along with Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Maverick Vinales, Scott Redding and Johann Zarco. For others like Dovi, Alex Rins, Takaaki Nakagami, Bradley Smith, Jack Miller, Tito Rabat and Aleix Esparagaro it was a disaster with a mix of crashes, bike failures and flames as the Ducati of Rabat caught fire. Bradley Smith was a sitting duck and taken out without warning and Esparagaro had another case of negativity to add to his folder of “why is it not working”. The psychological aspects are really crucial to success in this sport. Vinales is still struggling to race with confidence as he complains of problems left, right and centre. The same old story is still taking place: the first half of the race is painful and then in the second half, we come alive. He went to Yamaha to win and he feels that this is not happening fast enough. Talk about a case of chocolate chip cookies being burned to a crisp! The recipe to success is not working and Vinales is no stranger to voicing his concerns. The next race up is Assen where Lorenzo is aiming for three from three. We look forward to seeing how the riders shape up for the event where the weather can throw a spanner in the works and also where underdogs can win!

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.