MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo has warned that Ducati could pose a major threat at the season-opening Qatar round later this month, despite his huge pace advantage in testing there.
Yamaha’s Lorenzo lapped 0.6s clear of the field, led by Scott Redding on a Pramac-run Ducati.
But he thinks the Italian machines will benefit in race setup on the new Michelin control tyres.
“Potentially the Ducatis work very well, as the times demonstrate, and they will be very strong in the race,” he said when asked for his thoughts on Losail form.
“We tried both tyres on the front and the rear, so I knew the softer solution at the front was the best to make a fast lap. For race simulation, unfortunately, we had some problems with graining.
“Some riders have the same problems as me, some others not – like the Ducatis and [Honda's Marc] Marquez.”
Compound switch expected
Lorenzo believes that Michelin will bring a harder ‘soft’ construction option to the race, to allow a better choice for the 22-lap race.
“After speaking with Michelin, they are planning to keep the 34 [tyre construction code], the one I used to make the race simulation, and to prepare a new medium tyre – because the soft one was maybe too soft for some riders, and they have to give tyres that work for everyone.
“I made a complete race simulation with the hard front tyre [on Friday], which was not the best option to go fast, but it was better than [Thursday’s] simulation.
“But if I didn’t have the problem with graining on the right side of the soft tyre, I could do 1m55.5s or 55.3s, but unfortunately it wasn’t working after some laps.
“In higher speed it was very nervous. If I have a better front tyre I think I can go faster.”