Jorge Lorenzo Signs with Ducati
Just over a week later, these expectations were confirmed – the reigning MotoGP Champion has signed with Ducati to ride through the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP Championships.
At the end of this season, the 28-year-old Lorenzo will split with Yamaha Factory Racing Team, which he joined in 2008 and has since won three premier-class titles (2010, 2012, 2015) aboard the YZR-M1. Both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP and Ducati confirmed the contract news Monday – and both were thin with content due to Lorenzo and other officials not being able to officially comment until the end of 2016 MotoGP.
The Ducati press release simply stated: “Ducati announces that it has reached an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo thanks to which the Spanish rider will take part in the MotoGP World Championship in 2017 and 2018 aboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Team.”
Lorenzo – a five time World Champion – has been on Ducati’s radar since Casey Stoner fled following the 2010 season. Stoner was the only rider to win a title for Ducati (2007) since the brand joined Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2003. The Australian also rewarded Ducati its final win at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix (Phillip Island).
Stoner joined Honda in 2011, winning the title. As for Ducati, its struggles continued, and even nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi couldn’t perform on the Desmosedici.
Rossi signed with Ducati for the 2011/2012 seasons, earning only three podiums. He returned to Yamaha for 2013, where he joined Lorenzo. The energy between these two riders was never fully positive. It’s worth noting that Rossi missed the 2015 MotoGP title by a mere five points.
Lorenzo was – and continues to be – a powerhouse on the YZR-M1. Since joining the premier class, he has earned 41 wins and claimed 99 podiums out of 141 races.
Speaking of the news, Yamaha says it “is extremely grateful for Jorge’s contributions to its racing successes and looks forward to sharing more memorable moments during the remaining 15 MotoGP rounds of 2016, their ninth season together.
“Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. wishes Lorenzo the very best in his future racing endeavours and reconfirms the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team‘s full support on his campaign to achieve his fourth MotoGP title.”
With Rossi already confirmed for the 2017-2018, Yamaha has yet to announce who will be the 37-year-old Italian’s teammate, though current Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales is supposedly in talks.
As for Ducati, it is also unknown which of the current teammates – Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone – will remain. Both riders’ contracts end at the conclusion of 2016 MotoGP, and both have had a string of bad luck so far this season.
As for Lorenzo, he was the only rider to beat two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) this season; Lorenzo dominated the opening round at Qatar, and is already a favorite in Jerez, where he won last season.
Also, Ducati Corse General Manager Luigi Dall’Igna, who joined the Bologna brand after many successful years with Aprilia, has helped Lorenzo earn two titles in the former 250cc class.
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