Jorge Lorenzo says he can no longer pull off the same strong starts with Ducati’s 2018 MotoGP bike that he was capable of last year.
During his subdued first season with Ducati in 2017, one of Lorenzo’s strongest points was managing consistently good race starts – but this was not the case in this year’s Qatar season opener.
In Qatar, Lorenzo did not use the aerodynamic fairing he preferred in the second half of 2017, as he said it did not work well together with the new Ducati chassis.
As a consequence of that, the front wheel of the bike is harder to keep close to the ground, which makes starts more difficult.
“For the moment I am not able to use the winglets, [and] it affects the wheelie,” said Lorenzo, who lost four positions on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix.
“I believe this year’s chassis or this year’s bike makes more wheelie on the straight and this doesn’t help us for the start.
“We have to find some solution but is not our strong point anymore.”
Lorenzo said it is possible that he will test the winglets in Argentina.
“If I have to, or if we think it can be a good test, we will try it but first we want to concentrate on other things,” he said.
Lorenzo’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso also had a poor start before eventually going on to win in Qatar.
However, while he admitted that he’s been struggling with starts for a long time, he said he lost positions in Qatar due to having to avoid the Suzuki of Alex Rins.
“I am struggling on the start, from two years, one year and a half,” said Dovizioso.
“It was a strange start. I had to close the throttle because I almost hit [Alex] Rins, that’s why I lost too many places.
“When you release the throttle on the straight, you lose a lot of speed, that was the reason.”