Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo: 2012 MotoGP Champ

Jorge Lorenzo Title Wrap & Bio

When Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo traveled to Australia this past weekend for the penultimate round of the 2012 MotoGP Championship, he held a 23-point lead over Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

If Pedrosa was victorious at Phillip Island, the title chase would have came down to the final round. But unfortunately for Pedrosa, he crashed while in the lead on the second lap. Lorenzo, who was by then in second place behind eventual race-winner Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda), quickly received a message on his board that said “Pedrosa Out.”

Pedrosa’s misfortune was quite fortunate for Lorenzo, though. The 2010 MotoGP Champ now only had to ride smooth and consistent, as he did all year, to clinch the 2012 title. And this is just what Lorenzo did; he would take second place, allowing him clinch the title ahead of the season finale.

En route to his second world title, Lorenzo finished second or better at every race, including six win, except for the Assen round when he suffered a DNF after being taking out by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. During all those races, only two riders beat Lorenzo – Pedrosa and the reigning MotoGP Champion, Stoner.

Following the race, the Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 rider said, “What a day! I’m very happy, it was easier than I expected because Dani made a mistake in a corner and crashed. I wanted to keep with Casey but he was so strong. Today all I had to do was finish the race and I have become World Champion for the second time. It’s such a sweet feeling! I want to thank all the team, Yamaha, my family, my friends, sponsors and fans who support me. Today is an amazing moment. We’ve been very patient, very concentrated and finally the World title arrives!”

Heading into the season finale at Valencia, the fourth race on Spanish soil, Lorenzo has a 43-point cushion with only 25 points available.

With his title, Lorenzo becomes the first rider in Spanish history to take a premier-class title more than once. He also becomes just the third rider in the 64-year history of GP racing to win more than a single world title in both the intermediate class (former 250cc Class) and premier class, Lorenzo joining Mike Hailwood and Phil Read in the record books.

Following Lorenzo’s clinching of the 2012 MotoGP title, the President of Yamaha Motor Company, LTD., Hiroyuki Yanagi also offered congratulations: “I want to convey my heartfelt congratulations to Jorge Lorenzo for clinching the 2012 MotoGP Championship title at the Australian GP with one round still remaining in the season. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the fans, the sponsors and other people involved who have supported Jorge and the Team.

“This championship title has value that goes above and beyond the great achievement of a second MotoGP title for Jorge Lorenzo. This was the first season under the new 1000cc regulation and, in that sense, made for a new and greater challenge for all of the riders and teams competing. I believe winning the title in such a new realm was made possible thanks to the combined strength of the riders, the machine and the team’s management.

“Let me say that I am very proud to have a rider like Jorge Lorenzo, who continues to adapt and grow steadily with such success, as a member of the Yamaha family. I look forward to his achievements in the 2013 season to come.”

Following is a biography of Jorge Lorenzo, courtesy of MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo Bio

Jorge Lorenzo’s journey to his two MotoGP premier class titles began at the age of three when he entered in minicross competitions in his native Mallorca, followed by junior motocross and a 50cc Copa Aprilia title in the Spanish Championship – an entry he was only granted with special permission. Lorenzo subsequently became the youngest ever rider to enter a World Championship race. Turning fifteen – the minimum age for Grand Prix participation back then – on the second day of practice for the 2002 Spanish race at Jerez, he made his debut on board a Derbi 125cc at a track where he would enjoy much success over the next few years.

In just his second season he took his first Grand Prix victory at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where his impressive “round the outside” overtaking maneuver on Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa won him the nickname “Por Fuera.”

In 2004 he sealed a further three triumphs, before making the move up to the 250cc category a year later and taking four poles and six podiums in his maiden season. 2006 was to be the coming-of-age year for the Mallorcan, who switched to Aprilia machinery and immediately became the favorite for the World Championship. He justified the hype with an impressive eight victories, equaling the pole position record in the process with ten, and lifting the title in an emotional final race of the year at Valencia.

Another dominant year in 2007 saw Lorenzo retaining the quarter-liter title, with all nine of his victories coming from pole. At just twenty years old, he was a two-time 250cc World Champion and took on his biggest challenge to date by signing for the Yamaha factory team in MotoGP alongside Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo made an immediate impact in the premier class with a stunning first five races.

He took pole on his debut – becoming the first man to do so since Max Biaggi ten years previously – and finished second in an astounding performance in Qatar. He followed up the feat with pole at the next two races, becoming the first rider to go ‘three from three’ in his rookie season and turning both top spots into podium finishes.

Unfortunately his debut MotoGP season in 2008 was also marred by a few big crashes and injuries, including two broken ankles in China that eventually forced the debutant out of action for his home race in Catalunya.

However he regained his fitness and confidence in the latter part of the season, and picked up the pace to finish fourth overall and become Rookie of the Year. Lorenzo went from strength to strength in 2009, pushing his then colleague and fierce rival Rossi all the way for the title. Their battle at Catalunya was a season highlight, and Lorenzo picked up four wins as part of a 12-podium haul for the year, with five pole positions as well. Ultimately he was unable to wrest the title from Rossi’s grip, but his challenge was becoming ever stronger.

The 2010 year saw Lorenzo’s star rise even further, and he was finally able to shake off the “inconsistent” tag by scoring podium finishes in the first twelve races of the season, winning seven of them in the process. He took pole on six occasions that season, and qualified on the front row of the grid for every race except one.

Still aged just 23, he become only the second World Champion from Spain in the premier class after Alex Crivillé. 2011 saw the Mallorcan face a new foe in the form of a rejuvenated Casey Stoner on board his Repsol Honda, which proved to be a near unbeatable combination. Yet despite a Yamaha that looked to be lacking in power, he fought his way to three wins and ten podiums, and managed to finish the season in second, despite missing the final three races due to a bad finger injury.

With the switch to 1000cc at the start of 2012 Lorenzo and his Yamaha made a terrific start by winning the opening round in Qatar after a hard fought battle with the Repsol Hondas. From that point on the Spaniard went on to take five further wins and nine second-places, only once failing to finish a race after being taken out by Álvaro Bautista in Assen. The race at Phillip Island proved a dramatic one as his main rival Dani Pedrosa crashed out early on, with Lorenzo needing only a three-point finish or more to clinch the title. He however didn’t hold back and climbed on the podium once more to take his second premier-class title.

Jorge Lorenzo’s MotoGP Career:

  • 2002: 125cc World Championship – 21st position on Derbi, 14 starts, 21 points
  • 2003: 125cc World Championship – 12th position on Derbi, 16 starts, 79 points
  • 2004: 125cc World Championship – 4th position on Derbi, 16 starts, 179 points
  • 2005: 250cc World Championship – 5th position on Honda, 15 starts, 167 points
  • 2006: 250cc World Championship – 1st position on Aprilia, 16 starts, 289 points
  • 2007: 250cc World Championship – 1st position on Aprilia, 17 starts, 312 points
  • 2008: MotoGP World Championship – 4th position on Yamaha, 17 starts, 190 points
  • 2009: MotoGP World Championship – 2nd position on Yamaha, 17 starts, 261 points
  • 2010: MotoGP World Championship – 1st position on Yamaha, 18 starts, 383 points
  • 2011: MotoGP World Championship – 2nd position on Yamaha, 15 starts, 260 points
  • 2012: MotoGP World Championship – 1st position on Yamaha, 17 starts, 350 points

Jorge Lorenzo Quick Facts:

  • Birth date: 04/05/1987
  • Birth place: Palma de Mallorca
  • First Grand Prix: SPA – 2002 – 125cc
  • First Pole Position: MAL – 2003 – 125cc
  • First Podium: RIO – 2003 – 125cc
  • First GP Victory: RIO – 2003 – 125cc
  • Grand Prix Starts: 178
  • Grand Prix Victories: 44
  • Podiums: 98
  • Pole Positions: 51
  • Race Fastest Lap: 23
  • World Championship Wins: 2 x 250cc, 2 x MotoGP