On April 18, it was made official. Jorge Lorenzo will be joining the Red Planet. Since entering the premier class in 2008, Lorenzo has spent his entire MotoGP career with Yamaha. Ducati announced that they have reached an agreement and Lorenzo will be racing for the Italian marque in the MotoGP World Championship 2017 and 2018 seasons.
In 2008, Lorenzo took the world by storm during his MotoGP debut in Qatar by qualifying on pole position and finishing his first race in second place. With the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, the Spanish rider would go on to win 41 races and earn three MotoGP world titles—in 2010, ’12, and ’15. Out of 141 races, he bagged 99 places on the podium.
Ducati’s contracts with its current riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrew Iannone, are coming to their end after this season. The Desmosedici GP motorcycle has shown competitive performance and potential, allowing for the easier courtship of a rider like Jorge Lorenzo. Ducati hopes that Lorenzo will have what it takes to secure a championship for Ducati in MotoGP—a precious title the Italian group hasn’t won since 2007, care of rider Casey Stoner.
Ducati Corse Sporting Director, Pablo Ciabatti, spoke to Sky Italia about the new venture. “We have not decided yet,” said Ciabatta about which of Ducati’s current factory riders would stay on as Lorenzo’s teammate. “Now we will wait to decide whether Iannone or Dovizioso stays. The two are exceptional and it will not be an easy choice.” Ciabatti went on to assure that the uncertainty is unlikely to affect the two riders while they are still racing. Lorenzo has said that either choice would be agreeable.
Pablo Ciabatti explained, “We knew we wanted to sign one of the best riders to allow us to win back a title.” He added, “… I think the bike we have this year and the fact we have demonstrated its competitiveness has been key to reaching this agreement. I would say it was not difficult to convince Jorge.”
Yamaha Motor Co. and Lorenzo are going down separate paths in good graces. Still on their 9th season together, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team and the three-time world champion are still working hard to bring the 2016 season to a victorious close. Grateful for the triumphs, dynamism, and memories, Yamaha wishes Lorenzo the best in his career. They both are ready to face new challenges in the sport. After all, Yamaha still has ‘The Doctor’; Valentino Rossi will stay with Yamaha for 2017-2018 and the rest of Movistar Yamaha’s future lineup, as well as Ducati’s, are to be announced.