Jorge Lorenzo exploded onto the MotoGP scene at the beginning of the 2008 season. The 2-time 250cc World Champion grabbed the attention of the world, as he qualified in pole position for his debut weekend, going on to finish 2nd in Sunday’s race. During practise for the Chinese Grand Prix, Lorenzo suffered a crash, resulting in a chipped bone and snapped ligament in his left ankle and a fractured bone in his right ankle. This would be the beginning of a season blighted with injury. However Lorenzo’s rookie season would stand as one of the more impressive in recent years, as he went on to finish 4th in the championship standings.
Jorge Lorenzo formed an amazing relationship with Yamaha, where he would go on to spent 9 seasons. The Yamaha years were his most successful. As Lorenzo lined up alongside Rossi they would experience a dysfunctional relationship, often clashing. Lorenzo would go on to win 3 World Championships with Yamaha (2010, 2012 and 2015). At the end of the 2016 season it would be announced that Lorenzo would leave Yamaha, after 9 seasons, to sign for Ducati. A move that shocked the world; why would Jorge Lorenzo leave behind the Yamaha perfectly suited to his smooth riding style, for the Ducati, a beast suited to few.
Lorenzo’s beginning with Ducati was not as smooth as perhaps he had hoped. He suffered his first season with no wins in the premier class, although he managed 3 podiums and finished 7th in the World Standings. At the beginning of the 2018 season, Ducati announced that they would not renew Lorenzo for the 2019 season. However, this seemed only to inspire him, as he went on to win 3 races throughout the remainder of the season.
With the announcement of the retirement of Dani Pedrosa, the MotoGP World descended into crazy rumours and theories as to who would take the coveted 2nd Repsol Honda seat. It was eventually announced that Lorenzo would join the Repsol Honda Team, on a two-year deal. This was a particularly surprising signing for the Spaniard, who had become known for his smooth style. After such difficulty adjusting to the Ducati, how would he possibly tame the beast, that it appeared only Marquez could ride?
After a dire season with Honda, plagued by injury, Lorenzo announced at the final race of the 2019 season that he would retire from competition with immediate effect. The beginning of the end of Lorenzo’s career can be pinpointed to his crash during the FP1 session of the Dutch TT at Assen, he expressed that for the first time in his career he was scared.
“But the truth is from that moment the hill became so high for me that I wasn’t able to find the motivation to keep trying to climb this mountain.” – Jorge Lorenzo.
After the dust had settled on the announcement of Lorenzo’s retirement, news of his future would come thick and fast. Back home with Yamaha, as a test rider, an announcement was made of a wildcard appearance, set to take place at the Catalan GP. This seems to have ruffled feathers among the MotoGP paddock. His Honda teammate, and reigning MotoGP World Champion, Marquez said “He said he retired because he was afraid after the accidents. Maybe he was afraid of our bike, because if he has now accepted to do a wildcard, it means that within him there is no fear of motorcycling."
In an interview with AS, Pol Espargaro said, “The fact of retiring was an excuse for not being able to continue with Honda, have a gap year at home, think about his future and return with Yamaha. I was convinced that if he returned with Yamaha and the results came with him, with the bike, he was coming back.”
This begs the question, could Jorge Lorenzo have staged this retirement to save face, to terminate his Repsol Honda contract and create inroads with Yamaha? Could Lorenzo be lining up for a MotoGP return in the near future? A view shared by many seems to have taken hold of the world of MotoGP, all eyes are on Jorge Lorenzo and his next move.