We have a collection of images from Jorge Lorenzo’s final MotoGP season, inarguably the most challenging of his career, which hastened the end of his illustrious run in Grand Prix motorcycle racing. As 2019 comes to a close, the stunning photographs inspired us to reflect one more time on the accomplishments in this five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo career retrospective.
Lorenzo’s first year in the 125GP class didn’t hint at what was to come. In 14 races in 2002 on a Derbi RS 125, he scored just 21 points, finishing 21st in the championship. However, the next year on the same motorcycle and riding for Caja Madrid Derbi Racing, Lorenzo notched two podiums, including his first win and first pole. Still, Lorenzo was only able to place 12th in the championship. Lorenzo hit is stride on the Derbi RSA 125 on the same team in 2004, with seven podiums and three wins, finishing 4th overall for his final 125GP season.
Lorenzo moved up to the 250GP class in 2005, riding for Fortuna Honda on an RS250RW. Although winless, Lorenzo had six podiums and four poles on his way to a 5th place finish in the standings. 2006 was pivotal for Lorenzo, as he moved to the Aprilia RSW 250 on the Fortuna Aprilia team. In 16 races, Lorenzo scored 11 podiums, eight of them wins, on his way to his first world championship. Lorenzo repeated as champion in 2007, with 12 podiums in 17 races, and nine victories. That set Lorenzo up to move to the MotoGP.
Entering the MotoGP class with a bang, Lorenzo took his Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1 to three podiums in his first three MotoGP races, including a round 3 win in Portugal. Lorenzo went on to podium just three more times in 2008, finishing 4th in the MotoGP World Championship, 83 points behind teammate Valentino Rossi. The next year, Lorenzo doubled his podium appearances, and scored four wins in his first year running #99, after sporting #48 since his 125GP debut. Again, Lorenzo finished the season behind Rossi, though this time in 2nd place and 45 points shy of The Doctor.
2010 was a dominating year for Lorenzo and his M1. Taking nine wins, Lorenzo won his first MotoGP World Championship by 158 points over runner-up Dani Pedrosa. The next year, Casey Stoner claimed the championship after Lorenzo suffered a hand injury at the Australian Grand Prix, ending his season prematurely. Even with no points in the last two races, Lorenzo finished in 2nd for the season ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.
It was an epic battle between Lorenzo and Pedrosa in 2012. Lorenzo finished in P1 or P2 at every race he finished, DNFing in the Dutch TT and the final round in Valencia. Pedrosa won the six final races that he completed in 2012, but DNFs at Misano and Phillip Island left Pedrosa 18 points behind Lorenzo at the end of the season. It was Lorenzo’s second MotoGP World Championship.
Following the Lorenzo/Pedrosa clash in 2012 was an even closer fight between Lorenzo and rookie Marc Márquez. Either Lorenzo or Márquez won all but three races all season. Lorenzo finished off the podium three times and injuries prevented him from racing in the German Grand Prix. Márquez had six wins to Lorenzo’s eight victories, but Márquez never finished off the podium—crashing at Mugello and being disqualified in a bizarre Australian Grand Prix. Lorenzo won the final round at Valencia, but finished four points behind Márquez for the MotoGP World Championship, as Márquez rode to a safe P3, which is what he needed to clinch the title.
2014 was a forgettable year for Lorenzo, as he could only manage two podiums in the first eight rounds on his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1. With Márquez winning the first 10 rounds of the year, Lorenzo could only tussle with Rossi and Pedrosa for the runner-up spot. Both Rossi and Lorenzo finished strong, as Pedrosa faltered. However, Lorenzo couldn’t make up his early deficit, and Rossi took 2nd for the year by 32 points over Lorenzo.
Lorenzo had his third tough fight for the MotoGP World Championship in 2015, this time with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Rossi. Rossi and Lorenzo went tooth-and-nail all the way to the final race in Valencia. However, Rossi had to start from last on the grid at the finale, having been penalized by the FIM after an on-track confrontation with Márquez in Malaysia. Lorenzo took the win, as Rossi could only manage to make his way to P4 before the checkered flag flew. That was enough to give Lorenzo the 2015 MotoGP World Championship by five points—the third and final title of his career. To date, Lorenzo is the only other rider to take a MotoGP World Championship in the Márquez era. Six DNFs for Márquez in 2015 left him unable to compete for the title.
2016 was Lorenzo’s final year on a Yamaha, and it was a difficult season on the M1. Although Lorenzo had four wins, he suffered three DNFs and finished outside of the top 6 at four races. He finished third in the standings, behind Márquez and Rossi. Lorenzo did cap off his time on Yamaha with a win at the final round in Valencia.
Moving to the Ducati Team for 2017 proved to be a challenge for Lorenzo. He scored no wins and just three podiums (along with three DNFs) on the Desmosedici GP17, en route to a 7th place finish in the MotoGP standings—the worst of his career. 2018 started off badly with two DNFs and two finishes outside of the top 10. Lorenzo bounced back to win at Mugello—his first on the Ducati—and had three wins in six races. Following a P17 finish in San Marino, Lorenzo broke his foot in Aragon, essentially ending his season. That left him in 9th place in the MotoGP standings, even worse than his first year at Ducati. Ducati did not renew Lorenzo’s contract.
Lorenzo signed a two-year contract with Repsol Honda Team, joining nemesis Márquez. However, what unexpectedly turned out to be Lorenzo’s final season was plagued with injuries and uncompetitive riding. Lorenzo failed to finish in the top 10 at any race on the RC213V, even as his teammate Márquez was setting a points record on the way to his sixth MotoGP World Championship. At the final round, Lorenzo announced his retirement from MotoGP racing. Shortly after that, he signed with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team as a test rider for 2020.
Lorenzo finishes his GP career with five World Championships (three MotoGP, two 250GP, 68 wins (47 in MotoGP), 152 podiums (114 in MotoGP), and 69 poles (43 in MotoGP). In his last season, Lorenzo did pick up a team championship trophy as part of the Repsol Honda Team.
Photography by David Agüero, Markus Berger, Oscar Carrascosa, David Goldman, Gareth Harford, Christian Pondella, and Mauro Talamonti. Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool.