Oriol Puigdemont | Motorsport
After leaving Yamaha for Ducati at the end of 2016, three-time premier class champion Lorenzo was assigned Gabarrini, who engineered Casey Stoner on his way to title glory with the Italian marque in 2007.
The Spaniard, however, endured a tough learning season on the Desmosedici, taking only three podiums and, for the first time since his rookie 250cc season in 2005, failing to score a single victory. He also took his lowest-ever MotoGP championship position, seventh, while teammate Andrea Dovizioso challenged Marc Marquez for the title.
Offering an assessment of Lorenzo's year, Gabarrini - who worked with Honda's Jack Miller in 2016 before returning to the Ducati fold this year - said the year was a success overall, but also that he needs to step up his game next season.
“The general balance is positive, the goals are changing as time goes by. At the beginning of the season we focused on Jorge’s confidence with the bike. Later he had to be always in the top five, and finally, he had to fight for the victory no matter the race or the conditions. At the last races he was there, and I think with two more rounds we would have confirmed it. If next year we find the same problems as in 2017, we won’t have any excuses. Another season like that one would be unacceptable."
Gabarrini said that despite the work Lorenzo has put in to adapt to the characteristics of the Ducati, he has maintained the "essence" of his smooth, high-corner speed riding style.
“Jorge has been able to adapt his riding style to take benefit of the strong points of the new bike," Gabarrini explained.
"He put a lot of effort into doing things that didn’t come naturally in order to be fast. With the Yamaha he perfectly knew how the bike would react at any moment and he had to learn the same with the Ducati. That said, he hasn’t lost his style, his essence. He only has adapted it.”