Honda MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo feels being able to compete with the satellite LCR bikes at Le Mans demonstrated his progress, even if his result was not a major improvement.
Lorenzo finished Sunday’s race 15 seconds behind race-winning team-mate Marc Marquez in 11th, which was one position better than his previous best result with Honda.
The Spaniard – who left the previous race at Jerez “sad and worried” – was encouraged to end Friday practice fourth fastest in the dry, and spent most of the race in the top 10, running close to LCR rider Cal Crutchlow and ahead of Crutchlow’s team-mate Takaaki Nakagami.
“[There is] still missing something, as the final result demonstrates – but I think less than before,” said Lorenzo.
“This weekend we saw some progression, in my speed especially. After the Jerez test we found something on the bike, here we found some other pieces that helped me a little bit – maybe not a huge advantage but a little bit, and this shows something.
“[Friday] was the first day in the championship that I finished top five at the end of the day, [I was in the] top eight on the grid, in the first laps I could fight with riders like [Franco] Morbidelli or the Ducatis, or at the end of the race with [Suzuki rider Alex] Rins for example – riders that are faster than the riders I was fighting with in other races.
“Apart from Qatar, that was a very slow race, it [Le Mans] was the race where I finished closest to the winner in the final result but also on the fast lap, [I was] just seven tenths from the fastest lap.
“[It] was the first time that I finished in front of Nakagami, not only in the race but also in pace and speed most of the weekend. It’s true that he doesn’t have the official [2019-spec] bike like me, but he knows the bike more than me.
“Also with Cal, I could see him and he was two tenths or three faster on pace but he was not so far [ahead].”
Lorenzo said the weekend gave him and Honda more confidence that he can get on the required level with the bike.
“The only negative thing of this weekend is the position,” he added.
“I just improved one position from the [previous] best position. But in general the weekend was really better than the others.
“We finish with probably more conviction that it’s possible to do. It’s a long process, because it’s not easy, this bike, to understand and to take the maximum [from].”