CONFIRMED: LORENZO TO DUCATI
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