Ducati GP17 & Jorge Lorenzo ExposedWhen Grand Prix motorcycle racing allowed the use of four-strokes in the new MotoGP class for 2002, Ducati was quick to respond. That year during the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer unveiled its Desmosedici that Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss would compete aboard in 2003 MotoGP.
Fresh to MotoGP, Ducati had its struggles, but progress scaled in 2006 when Capirossi finished third overall. The next year, though, was when Ducati truly progressed. With Casey Stoner at the controls of the GP7, Ducati achieved 10 of 18 race wins, and claimed its first-ever title.But that was it; the struggles returned. Ducati tried all it could, even hiring nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi to the team in 2011/2012. Progress was minimal as the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 and Honda RC213V prototypes dominated, and Ducati went winless since 2010.That changed at 2016 Austria MotoGP when Andrea Iannone awarded Ducati its first MotoGP win since Stoner’s victory at Phillip Island in 2010. Ducati’s other factory rider in 2016 Andrea Dovizioso, also took a win at Sepang.This evidence is there, and the Ducati Desmosedici became a real contender once again. The next step? Hire some serious talent, and that’s what Ducati did with the signing of MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo, the most-successful Spanish GP rider in history (two 250cc and three MotoGP titles).The 29-year-old Lorenzo joined GP in the former two-stroke 125cc class with Derbi at 15—the youngest rider to debut in the World Championship. Three years later, he joined the former two-stroke 250cc class in 2005 with Honda. He joined Aprilia in 2006, and claimed two titles.For 2008, Lorenzo joined the factory Yamaha team alongside Rossi, and was an immediate threat. He would go on to win three titles (2010, 2012, 2015), and finish second overall in 2009, 2011 and 2013. To date, Lorenzo has the record number of GP pole positions with 65, and, in the premier class, 44 wins and 107 podiums.Following nine years with Yamaha, Lorenzo signed with Ducati Team, and joins Dovizioso. Lorenzo will compete on the revised Ducati GP17 as he looks to claim his fourth MotoGP title, and a second one for Ducati.The first preseason MotoGP test of 2017 is set to begin January 30 in Sepang; until then, here’s a photo gallery of Lorenzo and the GP17, along with some backstage video of the official MotoGP photo shoot and the team presentation.