Seeing Jorge Lorenzo fade to ninth during last Sunday’s wet Le Mans GP you immediately knew that he was suffering from some sort of technical issue or it was his tires.
The reigninng World champion would later inherit the seventh position when both Stefan Bradl and Valentino Rossi crashed out, and rejoined further down the field.
Finishing with one of his worst results ever, Lorenzo believed that he ended up with a defective rain tire.
After the race Lorenzo said, “after three or four laps the bike got worse and I got problems everywhere.
In the braking because in the middle of the corner I didn’t trust the rear tyre and in acceleration because the rear was spinning so much.
” aUnable to explain his unusually poor performance, Lorenzo believed that his issues were due to a defective tire, ”I don’t see anything other than the tire causing the problem,” and not due to an eventual wrong set-up, as he was the fastest rider in warm-up practice, where the track was fully wet, even if it wasn’t raining.
Both Yamaha and Bridgestone inspected the tires and could find nothing at fault – which instead they did find on one of Valentino Rossi’s slick tires following FP3 – which had small cracks on the right side.
Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development manager Shinji Aoki believes that Lorenzo’s problems stemmed from a wrong set-up.
Here’s what Aoki said in the Le Mans GP debrief:“Immediately after the race he had a debrief session with his tyre engineer where he explained his lack of rear grip.
As is always the case in these situations, his engineer thoroughly examined Jorge’s race tyres which were found to be in good working condition.
In addition, I examined the tyre myself and personally discussed the matter with the Yamaha engineers and we all agreed that Jorge’s lack of rear grip was not attributable to his tyre.
”“We received many different comments from the riders after the race on the feeling on the track, even though they all used the same specification of wet tyre and endured the same track conditions,” he continues.
“In these low grip situations, machine setup is critical as the smallest setting change can have a big effect on performance.
“In any case, it was a shame for Jorge as he was so strong in morning Warm-Up and we all expected a better result from him, but he is a champion and I know he will be back to his competitive best at the next race.