Jorge Lorenzo announces retirement from MotoGP
The Valencia GP will be the five-time World Champion’s last race in the MotoGP World Championship as the 32-year old announced his retirement ahead of his 297th Grand Prix start.
After 18 years of racing at the highest level, Jorge Lorenzo has today announced his retirement from racing ahead of the Valencia GP. With five World Championships, 152 podiums, 68 wins, 69 poles and 37 fastest laps, Lorenzo boasts one of the most impressive and consistent careers in Grand Prix racing. After a bruising campaign in 2019, Lorenzo has decided to draw an end to his Grand Prix career.
Jorge Lorenzo statement
“Thank you very much to everyone who accepted my invitation and attended this press conference, it really means a lot to me and makes me very happy. I always thought there are four significant days in the career of a rider. Your first race, your first win, your first Championship and then the day you retire. Well, as you may imagine, I’m here to tell you this day has arrived for me. I want to announce this will be my last race in MotoGP, and that at the end of this race I will retire from professional racing.
“I was 3 years old when everything started. Almost 30 years of complete dedication to this sport, my sport. The ones who worked with me, know how much of a perfectionist I am, how much hard work and intensity I put into this. Being like this requires a high level of motivation, that’s why after nine unforgettable years with Yamaha (without a doubt the most glorious of my career) I felt I needed a change if I wanted to maintain this high commitment to my sport. Moving to Ducati gave me that big boost I needed and even though the results were bad I used that extra motivation as fuel to not give up and finally win that special race at Mugello, in front of all the Ducati fans. After that, when I signed for Honda I got similar feeling, achieving one of the dreams of every rider: to be an official HRC factory rider.
“Unfortunately, injuries came soon to play an important role in my season, being unable to ride in normal physical conditions. This, plus a bike that never felt natural to me, makes races very difficult. Anyway, I never lost the patience and I kept fighting, just thinking that was a simply matter of time and that after all things would get into the right place. But, as I started to see some light I had this bad crash at the Montmelo test, and some weeks later that ugly one in Assen. At that point I had to admit, that when I stopped rolling into the gravel, the first thought that came into my mind was ‘What am I doing here? Is this really worth it? I’m done with it.’ Some days later after reflecting a lot about my life and career I decided to give it a try. I wanted to be sure I was not making an early decision.
“The truth is from that crash, the hill became too high for me, and even if I try I couldn’t find the motivation and patience to be able to keep climbing it. You know, I love this sport, I love to ride, but above all things I love to win. I understood, that if I’m not able to fight for something big, to fight for the title or at least to fight for victories I cannot find the motivation to keep going specially at this stage of my career. I realised that my goal with Honda, at least in a short time, was not realistic. I have to say I feel very sorry for Honda, specially for Alberto, who really was the one who trusted me and gave me that opportunity. I remember that day in Montmelo when we meet and I told him “Don’t make a mistake signing the wrong rider Alberto, trust me and you will not regret it’. Sadly, I have to say that I disappointed him, so I did to Takeo, Kuwata, Nomura San and all my team, who I have to say they always treat treat me in a exceptional way. However, I really feel this is the best decision for me and for the team, Jorge Lorenzo and Honda cannot be here just to score some points!
“Coming back to my beautiful and successful career, I have always said I’m a very lucky guy. Sometimes I feel a bit like the movie ‘One in a Billion’, the documentary about the only Indian who ever came to the NBA. During my career I raced against dozens and dozens of exceptional riders of my generation, some of them even more talented than I am. Some of them have not been as successful as me, but specially most of them did not even make it to the World Championship, having to go to work in normal jobs. That’s why I feel so lucky to be able to achieve much more than I ever imagined I could achieve when I first started. And yes, it’s true, I always worked very hard, but without being at the right place at the right time, and especially without the help of many people who worked with me through my career, would have been impossible for me to achieve what I have done.
“That’s why I would like to thank sincerely all of this people. Specially Carmelo and Dorna for the treatment and for making MotoGP so great. Derbi, Aprilia, Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, specially Giampiero Sachi, Gigi Dall’Igna, Lin Jarvis and Alberto Puig. Obviously my mother for bringing me to this world. My father, for showing me the passion for this sport and all the sacrifice he has made for me during these years. My fans and my fan club for the unconditional love through all these years. Thank you to all the people of work with me as a personal team, with specially mention to Albert Valera, for being always honest and loyal. So this is it, with all my heart, I really wish you all the best, professionally and personally. Thanks for all.”
What do his competitors think…?
“I think that he is for sure one of the most important MotoGP riders in the modern era. I think that we lose a very important part of our sport. He’s a great champion, he impressed me a lot of times for his speed and concentration. From when he arrived in MotoGP, he was always from the first moment very strong, from 2008, so more than ten years. We were team-mates for a long time, a lot of years together we shared the same box and I think he’s, personally, one of the greatest rivals of my career. We did some of the best races together, that I remember in my history, so it’s a great shame that he finished but he’s good, he’s okay, and I wish him a lot of luck for the future.”
“It was a surprise, even for his team-mate. In the team, we didn’t know and it was a surprise. Especially the way he worked in the box – then the results can be better or worse – but the way that he worked was exactly the same as his first day in Honda. Just an hour ago I was with him in his truck to say congrats, obviously for his career but especially the way to take the decision. This is something that means a lot – how is Jorge? Because he is a real champion. The moment he feels he can’t be in the top places he decided to stop. A strong character on and off the track, and yeah, a real champion. I want to say congrats to him and wish him the best for the future.”
“Jorge was my rival because I met him in the European Championship in 2001 and every year we changed class at the same moment, so we’ve always been rivals. He’s won a lot of races and championships, is I think he can just be happy about his career. Unfortunately this is the sport and sometimes it’s difficult to continue to be in that level, I think he had some crashes in the last two years, and it affected his mind, but I think what he did in the world championship is something huge.”
Jorge Lorenzo – A life in MotoGP
Debuting on his 15th birthday on the second day of practice at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2002, Jorge Lorenzo has spent his entire life racing. A first Grand Prix win came just over a year later with his famous ‘Por Fuera’ move in Rio de Janeiro in 2003.
After a total of four wins in the 125cc class, ‘The Spartan’ moved to the 250cc championship and soon took back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, his butter-smooth style perfectly suited to the intermediate class. His formidable consistency saw him take 29 podium finishes in three years, including 17 wins and earned him a factory seat in the MotoGP class.
Lorenzo’s start to life in the premier class was nothing short of amazing as he took three-straight pole positions and converted them to three consecutive podium finishes, including a first win in his third MotoGP race. Although some heavy falls would halt his title challenge, Lorenzo established himself as a star of the future as he ended his debut season in fourth place.
2009 saw the soon-to-be World Champion never finish a race lower than fourth and Lorenzo carried this consistency through to 2010 and a debut MotoGP World Championship. Finishing all 18 World Championship rounds in the top four, only twice off the podium, Lorenzo put in a dominating performance to take his first of three premier class crowns. With 383 points, Lorenzo set a new record for points scored in the premier class – a record which would stand for almost a decade. The championship was Spain’s second in the premier class, Alex Criville the only Spanish rider to have previously won.
In 2011 Jorge Lorenzo went toe-to-toe with Casey Stoner, the pair trading wins throughout the season. Unfortunately, an injury in Australia forced Lorenzo to miss the final three races of the season – his efforts during the course of the year still enough to earn him second place in the championship with an impressive 260 points.
There was no stopping Lorenzo in 2012 as he took three wins from the first five races and missed out on the top two steps on the podium just once in the first 17 races. Again, his consistency was unmatched and Lorenzo marched to a fourth World Championship, his second in the premier class.
His final World Championship came in 2015 as he overcame a season-long challenge from both Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi to clinch the title at the last round in Valencia.
After conquering three championships, Lorenzo made the decision to change manufacturer and in two years took seven podiums and three wins, joining a prestigious club of riders to win on two different manufacturers.
Taking up a new challenge for 2019, Jorge Lorenzo joined the Repsol Honda Team as he set his sights on becoming the first rider to win on three different manufacturers in MotoGP. Unfortunately, a pre-season training crash saw the Mallorca native miss the majority of testing and spend the opening races playing catch up. Despite making constant improvements aboard the Honda RC213V, a heavy crash in Assen saw Lorenzo suffer breaks to his T6 and T8 vertebrae, ruling him out of four Grands Prix and affecting him throughout his return.
Lorenzo leaves the MotoGP World Championship with a number of incredible achievements to his name including: the second most podium finishes in the premier class (114), the second highest amount of pole positions across all classes (69), the fifth most successful rider in terms of wins in the premier class (47) and the third highest point scorer of all time (2896) in the premier class.
Yoshishige Nomura – HRC President
“It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Jorge Lorenzo, he has been one of the strongest champions in the last decade that we have fought against and now worked with. The chance to have Lorenzo in Repsol Honda Team colours was something truly unique and 2019 was full of promise. Unfortunately, he suffered a lot of bad luck with injuries before the season started and also during the season with his fall in Assen. As a result, he wasn’t able to recover the confidence he once had and we will sadly be ending our cooperation early as he retires from racing. We at Honda Racing Corporation would like to wish him all the best for the future.”