Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo says he was braced for “a much worse” MotoGP German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, despite finishing outside the top 10.
Three-time champion Lorenzo started Sunday’s race sixth on the grid and ran as high as third early on, behind the leading works Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Lorenzo ultimately faded to 11th, finishing 25 seconds behind winner Marquez and five places behind the leading Ducati of satellite Aspar rider Alvaro Bautista.
The result equalled his worst finish in dry conditions this season, but Lorenzo said it was still better than he anticipated after he struggled for rhythm in morning warm-up.
“The warm-up was a disaster,” said Lorenzo.
“My rhythm was one of the worst I ever had.
“My expectation for the race was very bad.
“But already on the warm-up lap I felt better with the grip.
“I had a good start, I had a good feeling while I had grip, although I was not as strong as the Hondas, I was more or less following them.
“I more or less could stay [with] them until the rear tyre started to drop.
“Then I had problems to turn the bike, it was going outside the line and I couldn’t do so much more.
“I pushed until the end and I had the best pace [I had] all the weekend, so it’s not bad.
“In the final stages however I had to reduce my pace because the bike was spinning under acceleration and I was no longer able to fight for ninth.”
Lorenzo said he salvaged what he could from the Sachsenring race and Assen round a week earlier, suggesting Ducati’s GP17 had amplified his struggles at circuits he had traditionally found difficult during his time at Yamaha.
“In general, we saved a very complicated situation here and a little bit at Assen as well,” he said.
“Even when I was strong with the Yamaha, I always suffered in these two circuits and with the Ducati I struggled even more, considering I can’t take podiums on circuits I favour.
“When the good tracks come for me we will be much better and in the meantime we are waiting for improvements of the chassis and we will see if [we have an update] on aerodynamics.
“When you are not at the front your value goes down, when you are, you are a phenomenon.
“I know it’s only a matter of time before the bike starts giving good feelings and I can fight for victories.”
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont