Saturday, March 17, 2012

'You never know' - Jorge Lorenzo after GP2 test

Jorge Lorenzo could have been a sucessful Formula One driver, that was the verdict of Addax Team boss Alejandro Agag after the 2010 MotoGP champion got instantly up to speed on his GP2 debut at Valencia on Wednesday. 

Agag, a friend of Lorenzo's manager Marcos Hirsch, invited the Factory Yamaha star to try the 2005-2007 GP2 Series Dallara - used in the GP2 Asia Series from 2008-2010 - which is powered by a 600hp Renault V8 engine and without electronic aids. 

According to Lorenzo set a best lap time of 1m 24.9s, which compares with the 2007 GP2 Valencia pole of 1m 19.312s. The Valencia MotoGP lap record is 1m 32.582s. 

But most impressive was that Lorenzo was within one second of former GP2 driver Javi Villa, who drove in the morning to help set-up the car. 

"It was a unique experience,” said Lorenzo. “It's very different to what I'm used to. To be honest it's an impressive sensation even if I do 310 on this circuit on a motorbike and the car reaches 280, but being so close to the ground, it seems like you're going much faster so it's exhilarating. 

"Braking is incredible because you can brake really late going into the corner. You discover new sensations, having great fun at the same time. 

"I'm happy with the result although reducing seconds on lap times at the end was very difficult and I started to feel I was getting stuck and it was tough making consistent progress. 

"Considering it was the first time I can feel fairly satisfied because I began to feel the limits of the car. Although, MotoGP is my sport and for some time to come, I hope. 

"This has simply been an opportunity that Alejandro offered us because of his relationship with Marcos, to experience new sensations and to have some fun, although you never know... 

"My passion has been MotoGP since the age of 3 so I expect to be part of it for many more years. When I retire we will see." 

Team owner and principal Agag lavished praise on Lorenzo's performance. 

"We are very surprised by his natural talent. He has just driven one of these cars for the first time and has set times that match drivers who have been around for a long time. 

"Very few people could get behind the wheel of a machine that is the last step towards Formula 1 and do what Jorge did today. The feeling between the members of the team, mechanics, engineers has been spectacular. 

"If he had started 15 years ago on four wheels instead of two wheels, I am sure he would now be doing very well in F1. 

"As far as we are concerned he has more than surpassed our greatest expectations. I would also like to thank Javi Villa, whose experience at this level has helped us set up the car and at the same time given Jorge all the necessary advice." 

Lorenzo joins fellow MotoGP world champions Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner in expressing an interest in switching to four-wheel racing after hanging up his leathers. 

The 24-year-old, runner-up to Stoner in 2011 despite losing part of a finger, will be back on his M1 during the final MotoGP pre-season test at Jerez from March 23-25. 

GP2, formed in 2005, is the feeder series for F1. Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado and Charles Pic all passed through the championship on their way to F1. 


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