CON­FIRMED: LORENZO TO DU­CATI

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Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

Reign­ing Mo­togp world cham­pion Jorge Lorenzo will make the switch from Yamaha to Du­cati for the 2017 and 2018 Mo­togp sea­sons, as MCN re­ported three weeks ago.

Ru­mours be­gan cir­cu­lat­ing be­fore the sea­son had even started that Du­cati had pre­pared a highly lu­cra­tive of­fer for the Spa­niard, backed by the com­bined fi­nances of long-time spon­sor to­bacco gi­ant Phillip Mor­ris and Du­cati own­ers Audi, both of whom are keen to see the team re­turn to win­ning races and cham­pi­onships.

The deal was con­firmed as MCN went to press on Mon­day af­ter­noon with si­mul­ta­ne­ous state­ments first from Yamaha con­firm­ing Lorenzo’s de­par­ture im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by an­other from Du­cati to an­nounce the new two-year deal.

Of­ten per­ceived to not yet have achieved the level of greatness at­tained by some of his peers de­spite five world ti­tles across two classes, the move comes as Lorenzo at­tempts to ce­ment his legacy by join­ing the very exclusive list of riders who have won premier­ship class ti­tles for more than one man­u­fac­turer.

If Lorenzo could win on the Du­cati he would be en­ter­ing hal­lowed ground in­hab­ited only by Ge­off Duke, Gi­a­como Agos­tini, Ed­die Law­son, Casey Stoner and his arch-neme­sis Valentino Rossi.

Even bet­ter for the 28 year-old, it would give him an op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing that cur­rent team-mate Rossi was un­able to do – to take the Ital­ian firm to ti­tle glory, some­thing they haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced in nearly a decade. Du­cati last won the world ti­tle in 2007 with Casey Stoner. Their last race win was in 2010 at Phillip Is­land, mean­ing the last 94 Mo­togp races have been won by ei­ther Honda or Yamaha.

Lorenzo’s first out­ing on the Des­mosedici GP bike is likely to be at the Va­len­cia test im­me­di­ately af­ter the fi­nal round of the se­ries in Novem­ber - but he may re­main blocked from dis­cussing it un­til Jan­uary 1, 2017 when his Yamaha con­tract is likely to ex­pire.

Mark Lloyd, HRC me­chanic

Now Dani to Suzuki then we have an Alien on each man­u­fac­turer.

O Matthew Birt, Mo­togp com­men­ta­tor

No doubt­ing Du­cati’s de­sire and in­tent to get back to the top in Mo­togp with Stoner hired as test rider & now Lorenzo signed & sealed This ends a pur­suit of his sig­na­ture that’s been on-go­ing since 2009

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