Crutchlow: "Class act" Lorenzo could make sudden breakthrough
Cal Crutchlow has backed struggling Honda MotoGP stablemate Jorge Lorenzo to make a breakthrough soon after a tough start to life with the Japanese manufacturer.
Lorenzo had gone into the previous round at Jerez hopeful of kickstarting a tough maiden Honda campaign, but instead came away feeling "sad, disappointed and worried" as he could only manage a lowly 12th-place finish.
It means the three-time premier-class champion is only 14th in the standings heading into this weekend's French Grand Prix at Le Mans, on 11 points - while Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez, winner at Jerez and in Argentina, leads the way on 70.
LCR's Crutchlow said he could sympathise with Lorenzo's issues, as he made a similar move from Ducati for the start of the 2015 campaign.
And while the British rider suggested the onus is on Lorenzo to find a way to be fast on a bike that is winning races, he also said such a step forward could happen quickly.
"When I was in Ducati you were sat quite low on the bike, quite in the bike, like the Yamaha," said Crutchlow, "whereas the Honda I was on top of it a lot more.
"That’s what I believe he’s struggling with – the pressure on your arms when you’re braking the bike is very difficult to ride, physical. When I moved to Honda, I also said those things.
"But Honda’s philosophy is you ride it, and that’s it. If Marc can ride it, and Casey [Stoner] could ride it at the time… it’s winning races, at the end of the day. Their philosophy has always been, the motorcycle’s the motorcycle, and you ride it how you get given it.
"Don’t get me wrong, they’ll work hard and they’ll work for him to improve that, but there will come a point where he’ll get used to it and he’ll start to go faster."
He added: "He’s got five world titles, he’s a class act and you don’t know what the weekend’s gonna bring for him. He could suddenly just turn it on."
Lorenzo also had a difficult time in the post-race test at Jerez, during which he was ninth-fastest and suffered two crashes over the course of the day.
But the Spaniard said that some of the new items he sampled "gave me a little more confidence", and that he is targeting further progress at Le Mans.
"My goal here is to make a little step," added Lorenzo. "That for me would be a little victory, to get closer to my real goal, to fight for podiums and victories."
Additional reporting by Lena Buffa and Guillaume Navarro
Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
Miller: "Rude" Espargaro said I deserved Jerez crash
Zarco accepts KTM CEO's rant after "losing control" at Jerez