Mamola column: Lorenzo badly needs to overcome fears

In his latest Motorsport.com column, ex-500cc star Randy Mamola talks about the version of Jorge Lorenzo he saw at Phillip Island - a "different rider", fearful and off the pace.

Mamola column: Lorenzo badly needs to overcome fears
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Jorge Lorenzo is afraid and that's the worst thing that can happen to a MotoGP rider. He's afraid of everything, of crashing and hurting himself.

Jorge himself admitted that on Saturday at Phillip Island, a day where he looked like a different rider - completely tense, slow and disconnected. The version that we saw in Australia would've been incapable of achieving as much success as he has.

Both for his own good and for the sake of everybody else who values him and believes he is one of the most talented riders in the history of the championship, Jorge has to react and find a way to turn the situation around, to become that unbeatable machine that is capable of dominating the field.

He insists that the change Michelin introduced after the scares with Baz and Redding has hurt him more than anyone. That I agree with, but I also believe that when you face a setback for whatever reason, you have to find a way to overcome it. Just like his rivals faced their respective obstacles, whatever they were, so Jorge has to overcome this one.

In that sense, there is no better example that Marc, who has learned to adapt to a very difficult bike at the start of the year and, little by little, has become stronger.

If Marc's example does not convince him, he can look to the other side of his garage, where Valentino has learned how to overcome all the problems that he's faced. But unlike Rossi, Lorenzo has so far not managed to find a solution to the issues that he's having with the tyres, both in the front and in the rear end.

Valentino is a master when it comes to finding the grip that, for whatever reason, the rear tyre is not generating. We've seen him ride sideways and slide depending on the need for every situation and the characteristics of the bike.

Jorge has only one resource and that makes him untouchable when everything is to his liking, but it makes him completely vulnerable if he can't use it. And that, in the current conditions, with so many new elements that have come into play, is not possible.

We can't forget that Jorge is a three-time MotoGP world champion, but this weekend he was overtaken and was much slower than riders with a lot less skill than him. On Sunday, I was at the track watching the race and he appeared to be a different rider. He was lost, alone and very slow.

Something has to change in his approach so he can find the way out of the hole that he is in. He has to ask himself questions, but sincere questions, those that hurt the most - because usually you already know the answers.

And I'm not only talking about this year, but especially about what he's going to find at Ducati, where I have the feeling that things are not going to be easy at all.

When I say that he's scared, I'm referring to certain signs that have pointed me towards that conclusion. Among those is his pace deficit in the rain. He has always talked about the crashes that he'd had when the track had been wet to justify his rain struggles.

But that has only been happening for some time - earlier, he had been one of the fastest in the wet. That's why I would say that the accident that he had at Assen a few years ago, where he broke his collarbone, continues to haunt him as a nightmare.

Leaving the physical consequences aside  - those can be fixed with titanium and nails - I think that, in his mind, there are psychological ones. Someone of his calibre must react and find a way to overcome those barriers. At end of the day, this is his job and he makes a very good living out of it.

 

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