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Ducati close to MotoGP leaders on Jerez race pace - Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati, Jerez MotoGP 2017

Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo believes he is only one or two tenths slower than the MotoGP leaders on race pace at Jerez.

Lorenzo is yet to finish above ninth since joining Ducati for the 2017 season but was more competitive in Spanish Grand Prix practice.

In the practice four session immediately prior to qualifying, he was fourth quickest and within 0.265 seconds of pacesetter Marc Marquez's Honda.

Though he only qualified eighth, Lorenzo felt this was his strongest day with Ducati yet.

"Worse [grid] position than Austin, but much better feelings and closer to the top guys," he said.

"Maybe not for one lap, because I didn't make the gains for some reasons, but in terms of pace we are one or two tenths slower than the fastest, which is good."

Lorenzo, a three-time winner at Jerez in MotoGP, had been second to eventual poleman Dani Pedrosa in Saturday morning practice but could not replicate that single-lap pace in qualifying.

"When we put the soft tyres on the rear we didn't have the same feeling [as in practice three], especially on the exit," said Lorenzo.

"I spun too much, didn't have the same traction that I had in the morning.

"Even if I pushed at the maximum, I couldn't go lower than this 1m38.9s, that was just one tenth slower than the morning, but the other ones improved more."

Jorge Lorenzo

Prior to the weekend, Lorenzo had hoped that his personal form at Jerez would compensate for Ducati's struggles at the track.

"I wanted to come in with a free mind and stay confident, do my work, ride better than ever and that's what I did," he said.

"Maybe here we don't have any point of the track that we can recover some distance that they take on us in the corners, because we don't have a long straight.

"But it's one of my favourite tracks. I'm riding well, having a lot of corner speed."

Lorenzo's factory Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was among those exiting in Q1 after what he described as a "very strange" qualifying performance that left him 14th.

"In FP4 we improved a little bit the bike and my pace was quite good, with a lot of temperature I was able to make 1m40.0s in the second run, with the used tyre, so I was quite happy about that," Dovizioso said.

"But I couldn't make a perfect lap to be in Q2. I'm very disappointed about that.

"To start [14th] is limiting - the track is very slow and tight so you can lose a lot of seconds in the first few laps and it's very difficult to overtake.

"But this is the situation and we have to try to gain the maximum positions at the beginning because I think we have good speed."

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