Italian professional motorcycle road racer and multiple-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will officially retire from the MotoGP scene, effective at the end of the 2021 season.
The news came announced via live coverage on MotoGP’s website, alongside the report that the young Italian made his decision in the shadows of the Styrian GP, where he first won a podium during his 125cc class debut in the Grand Prix motorcycling scene of 1996.
According to a release from Motorsport, Rossi has been hauling podiums with his decorated self for 26 seasons, making him one of the most iconic racers of our time.
Of the years he has been leaning into track twisties, Rossi has competed in a total of 414 races – 115 of which stand strong as Grand Prix victories.
After his first win in the 250cc class of 1998 (The Dutch TT), Rossi signed on to Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) – and a very nice factory NSR500 – winning the first of his seven premiere titles for Y2K in what was then the highest class in World Championship motorcycle racing.
His success continued into his riding for the Honda REPSOL team at the MotoGP World Championship, carrying him into victories for both the 2003 and 2004 years, before he made an abrupt about-face switch to Yamaha in 2004.
With the Yamaha YZR-M1, Rossi made headlines again, blasting past Max Biaggi and securing a win for the Yamaha team in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Despite a series of further wins for the young racer in 2008 and 2009, Rossi’s career came to a pause when he broke his leg, putting aside any hopes invested in the Italian 2010 title.
2011 saw Valentino healing from the broken leg, as well as undergo surgery for a shoulder injury. He signed on to the big guns during this time with a move to red on a two-year Ducati contract.
2011 was Rossi’s first winless season – the first time in his Grand Prix career – and the battles on the track were harder than ever.
His best finish on a Ducati to date was in his 2012 season in France, when he beat the Tech3 riders and finished second place.
Rossi also experienced similar successes that year with his time on the track at Le Mans of San Marino (many contribute these successes in part to the new and improved swingarm and frame sliders installed on his Ducati around this time).
Rossi soon rejoined the Yamaha team, where he was to stay until the present date. During his 2014-2021 seasons with Yamaha, Rossi and fellow teammate Maverick Vinales struggled a bit with their racebikes, leaving the racers feeling frustrated and less than satisfied on the track.
Despite this, Rossi continued to secure a few wins, taking the podium twice in 2014.
In 2015 the drama mounted when Rossi accused Marc Marquez of conspiring with Jorge Lorenzo to can his potential for Australia. The resulting consequence had the Italian in a back-of-the-grid start for the Valencia finale.
Rossi’s further wins were dwindling; the Italian secured two wins for 2016, then one in 2017 (The Dutch TT). His podiums also were less frequent, from five podiums in 2018 to two in 2019, and a final podium last year at the second race of Andalucia.
Despite the chaos and beauty that naturally accompanies the stats of a racer’s career, Valentino Rossi is an amazingly talented man.
With his generous personality and competition with Biaggi, Sete Gibernau, Casey Stoner, and Lorenzo, Rossi helped create a MotoGP that, today, is seen and loved by all.
“I have made my decision for next year – and I have decided to stop after the end of the season. Unfortunately, this will be my last season as a MotoGP rider”, says Rossi in a live coverage.
“It was great and I had an unforgettable moments with my team, with all my guys that worked for me. Molto, molto bueno. ”
The young racer will always live in our hearts, as well as through his recent work with the VR46 Riders Academy, founded in 2014.
Big names have arisen from this academy – including Morbidelli, Bagnaia, Marini, Bezzecchi, Nicolo Bulega, Niccolò Antonelli, Andrea Migno, Celestino Vietti, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Stefano Manzi, Dennis Foggia and others – and we look forward to the amazing moment that Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team graces the MotoGP stage, in 2022.
Stay tuned for updates, and make sure to check out Rossi’s Sky Racing Team VR46.
The MotoGP 2020 season is set to excite us once again in its latest season which starts in March. A total of 20 Grand Prix races will be held under the MotoGP calendar and riders and followers of the sport would be gearing up for the new season.
MotoGP action starts on 8 March 2020 at the Losail International Circuit. The season ends on 15 November at the Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo, Spain.
Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso are the usual suspects to finish near the top come the end of the season.
Marquez had surgery on his right shoulder in the off season and would be looking to get over the recent falls as soon as possible. Luckily, Marc managed to avoid any major injuries.
Fabio Quartararo to shine
Fabio Quartararo finished the Sepang MotoGP pre-season at the top. He recorded the fastest lap on each of the three days in the pre-season at the Sepang test circuit in Malaysia.
The Yamaha rider is one of the brightest talents in the sport and he even managed to record a best lap time of 1 minute, 58.349 seconds in his 17thlap. He managed to pull an impressive 57 laps on the track’s final day.
Jorge Lorenzo back in action
The former world champion Jorge Lorenzo is set to grace the MotoGP once again after Yamaha announced that Lorenzo would be their number one test driver in 2020.
The former world champion had announced his retirement just a couple of months ago and the news has come as a welcome surprise for his fans.
After a turbulent season with Honda, he had called it quits at the end of the 2019 season. He has spent nine seasons with Yamaha Motor Racing and would look to impress fans and rivals alike.
The Spaniard would look to add to his three world championship titles that he won with Yamaha. He last raced for Yamaha in Valencia 2017.
Lorenzo has a lot of fans all over the world and Valentino Rossi is one of them. Rossi has revealed that he forced Yamaha to bring back the former world champion Lorenzo back to Yamaha as a test rider.
The two have shared a cold relationship in the past but all seems forgotten as Rossi has stated that Lorenzo would be a perfect addition to the team.
* About the author’s: CharlotteHallam is a freelance writer specialising in topics such casino and sports betting. She’s 30 years old and lives in Manchester (UK).
Five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, four-time World Champion Max Biaggi and four-time World Champion Hugh Anderson will become MotoGP Legends this season, with the Spaniard set to be inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame at Jerez, the Italian at Mugello and the New Zealander later in the year.
New Zealand’s Hugh Anderson
It was decided on the day he announced his retirement that Jorge Lorenzo would become a MotoGP Legend this season, and the Majorcan is the first of the three riders who will be inducted in 2020. Fittingly, the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto will play host; the venue at which he made his Grand Prix debut on his 15th birthday and where the final corner bears his name.
Lorenzo is one of the most successful riders of all time, taking his first win in 2003 and his 68th in 2018. Back-to-back 250cc Champion in 2006 and 2007, on pole in his first MotoGP race and becoming a winner third time out in the premier class prefaced Lorenzo’s biggest achievements in MotoGP as he then went on to take the World Championship in 2010, 2012 and 2015.
He won those titles with Yamaha, with whom he accrued 44 wins, before a switch to Ducati in 2017. Lorenzo took three more stunning wins with the Italian marque before moving to Honda, later announcing his retirement from competition at the end of 2019.
“To be named a MotoGP Legend makes me extremely happy. When I began competing in this world, what I really aspired to do was to get into the World Championship. To be able to win races and then five World Championships is something that far outweighs what I expected, and to be a MotoGP Legend is something even more difficult to achieve. To be named a Legend means, apart from the titles, that you’ve left a mark on the people and history of this sport. I’d like to thank Dorna and the FIM for their support all these years, and for having included me in this special group of select riders.”
Max Biaggi made his first few Grand Prix appearances in the 250cc class 1991, and the Italian became a winner the very next season as he took his first victory. Two years later he would become Champion for the first time, and another few years after that would see him complete an awe-inspiring run of domination in the class as he became Champion in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
He then moved up to the premier class and took a maiden victory in his rookie season, finishing second overall. From his 1998 debut in the premier class until his departure in 2005, Biaggi took 13 wins and was runner up in the Championship on three occasions.
When he left Grand Prix racing, Biaggi moved to WorldSBK and took two World Championships there – 2010 and 2012 – and since retiring from competition, he has returned to the GP paddock at the helm of Sterilgarda Max Racing Team.
“I’m honoured to become a MotoGP Legend and know that my name will be up there forever with other important racers like Agostini, Aspar, Nieto, Sheene… I’m happy that my racing legacy will always be remembered and it’s a good feeling that knowing all of my years of hard work are still being recognised, even today. I would like to thank everyone who decided to give me this honour.”
Hugh Anderson will be the final inductee in 2020. Anderson made his first GP appearances in the 500cc and 350cc classes in 1960, taking a podium in the latter. Two years later he added the 125cc and 50cc classes to his resume, becoming a race winner in both. That set his course and for 1963 the New Zealander took on the 125cc and 50cc World Championships in earnest, taking the crown in each class.
He retained the 50cc crown the following year to make it back-to-back titles and was third in the 125cc title fight, reversing that in 1965 as he regained the 125cc crown and was third in the 50cc class. Anderson retired in 1966 after taking an impressive 25 Grand Prix wins and four titles in just six years.
“How I felt when receiving the news? At first, apprehension: do my relatively modest achievements warrant this honour? Will I, can I, do justice to this invitation? Some hours later I felt a feelgood sensation envelope me. A gratification that after all this time the modern world has not forgotten the past and the riders of a very much different era still have some value. A question of the history of our sport being recognised at the highest level. Thank you.”
New Zealand’s Hugh Anderson
Lorenzo, Biaggi and Anderson now join a long list of greats that have been made MotoGP Legends that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Kork Ballington, Dani Pedrosa, Stefan Dörflinger, Jorge Martinez and the late, great Nicky Hayden.
Mixed fortunes on Friday at Assen for the Repsol Honda Team
After suffering a heavy fall in FP1 Jorge Lorenzo has been forced to withdraw from the Dutch GP.
The five-time World Champion fell heavily and suffered a stable fracture to the T6 vertebra.
An MRI was performed after, revealing a trabecular fracture in the T8 vertebra as well confirming the T6 fracture.
He will soon travel to his home in Lugano, Switzerland.
“Due to the fall I fractured both my T6 and T8 vertebrae. The injury does not allow me to race here in Assen or at the Sachsenring. Tomorrow morning I will fly to Lugano and do all the possible treatments to get ready to go to Brno.”
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) left Losail International Circuit after having topped two of the three days. Overnight a 1m54.208s was the benchmark for others to measure up to after three days of testing, Vinales was 0.233 clear of Petronas Yamaha rookie Fabio Quartararo, an incredible performance from the 19-year-old Frenchman.
Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was back inside the top four just behind Marquez on the final day, with Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) another resurgent runner as he completed the top five just ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha). On combined times over the three days those riders were all one place further back as Suzuki’s Alex Rins’ time from day two was good enough for third quickest overall at the test.
Maverick Viñales – P1
“Honestly, I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided today. But we need to improve. I don’t have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area. On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I’m quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres. Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us. Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.”
Valentino Rossi – P5
“Today was a good day, we worked in a good way and I was quite strong. Also, with the race tyres my pace is quite good, and in the time-attack I was also OK. I’m in P5 at the end of the three days, which is not so bad. For me, also the race pace is quite good, although I think we will need something more to be able to try to fight. But today we already closed the gap by a lot, as we put it all together, with all the staff. I think that, for this night, we’re done, and we’ll see in two weeks if it’s enough.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“In the end, this test has been very productive. We came here to confirm the good points we found in Sepang. The riders’ feedback has been positive, even though the condition of the track has never been good during these three days. As this was an aspect that caused us to suffer in the past, we’re satisfied with our performance. Maverick has been impressive throughout the test, both with his best flying lap, a 1’54.2s, and his consistency. Vale, however, suffered a problem on Day 2, but today they were able to solve the issue and we found a good improvement, resulting in a 1’54.6s. We were able to try different items, including a new rear seat with different aerodynamics. We weren’t able to complete our entire schedule – due to the strong and bothersome wind – the race simulation included. Our engineers will use the coming break to analyse all the data in order to finalise the best set-up for FP1, that we are really looking forward to.”
Quartararo, meanwhile, did 48 laps and showed his Day 2 showing was far from a fluke, with teammate Franco Morbidelli shooting up the timesheets to sixth on Monday too. That makes good reading for both the Iwata marque and the new Petronas Yamaha SRT team, with all Yamahas in the top six on the final day, and the top seven on combined times.
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“It has been a very positive day for us. This morning the day wasn’t looking so good because it was cold and there was sand on the track, but in the end the wind dropped and once again every time I went out on track I felt better. So far this year I have only had six days on the bike and to be honest I feel very comfortable with it. I have managed to do a couple of really fast laps and that is what we were lacking at Sepang. Here we have not struggled to do the lap times, we were on the pace quickly and they have been fast. It was also good to get a race simulation in. Compared with the one I did at Sepang, this one was better in terms of my pace but it was also difficult because I was riding alone virtually the whole time. I think we are making gradual, non-stop progress.”
Franco Morbidelli – P7
“I am really happy with this three-day test in Qatar, we have tried a lot of different configurations. I have struggled a little to get completely comfortable with certain aspects but today we managed to get to the bottom of a few little problems. Now we just have to put it all together for the Grand Prix. Finally we have been able to make a good time attack. In general we have done a good job, now we just need to refine a few details to make sure we are competitive over race distance and also over one lap. With the data we have been able to gather here I am confident we can find the perfect package for the race and I am really happy with the job done by the whole team.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager
“The test here in Qatar has gone even better than we expected. We know that the Yamaha is quite suited to this track but obviously the lap times from Fabio [Quartararo] have been incredible and were beyond our expectations – everything went very smoothly for him. With Franco [Morbidelli], we have struggled quite a bit on crazy things. These things happen at testing, so I hope we have solved the majority of the issues. Even though the first few days didn’t go perfectly, he did a great job that allowed him to set a good lap time tonight. Looking back on our preseason as a whole I can only say that I think we can be proud of what we have created and everything we have achieved as a team so far. At the same time, we also need to be realistic and remember that we haven’t scored any points yet in the championship. It looks like things are under control for the moment, so let’s start racing!”
Repsol Honda were the only other team and manufacturer to mix it with Yamaha on Monday, although both machines took tumbles – riders ok. Marc Marquez was third on day three with a 1m54.613s and did 53 laps, again showing the capacity to put more mileage on his shoulder, and teammate Jorge Lorenzo took P5 just 0.040 off Marquez and 0.002 off Rossi.
Marc Marquez – P4
“I feel ready today, ready to start the season. Like yesterday we did a lot of laps, worked well and made some more steps. We’re still not 100% but we have a good feeling. Qatar is a track where normally we struggle, but at this test we are there with everyone else. It was a bit difficult with the wind and the temperature on track tonight but we still did what we needed to.”
After two much tougher days on the timesheets, hovering outside the top 15 as he both changes bike and comes back from a scaphoid broken only a month ago, five-time World Champion Lorenzo catapulted himself up to a 1m54.653s on Day 3.
Jorge Lorenzo – P6
“We started the test not adjusting the setting. When we started to work on the setting we were able to improve the bike and our speed. I could ride the bike better, we improved things a little here and a little there and made a big step to be competitive already. We’re very satisfied, the potential is certainly there and it is just my third day as an official Honda rider because before I wasn’t fully fit. When I’m fit and riding better, we can be even stronger.”
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), meanwhile, also had a solid final day as he finished the Qatar Test in eighth despite a crash, and the Japanese rider concludes testing with a sheet of consistent top tens. He did 50 laps with a best of 1m54.789s, with teammate Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) down in P17.
Takaaki Nakagami – P9
“I had a pretty nasty crash during the test, but fortunately I am ok. When I had the crash I took a fair bit of impact to my body, but I am thankfully fine apart from a little pain. In few days I’ll be good again. After the crash it was difficult, but we were able to improve the feeling and the lap time, so I am really happy to end the test like this. Now the pre-season tests are over, and I think we are ready for the season to start. I am hugely motivated to go racing, and happy with the whole LCR Honda IDEMITSU team. They have done a great job during testing, and I want to thank them for their efforts.”
Cal Crutchlow – P17
“Today my feeling was a little bit better with the bike, but we only had limited resources as realistically there was only one bike to use. Overall, I felt we improved the setting of the bike. Unfortunately, halfway through the session I had a crash, and it took us quite a bit of time to rebuild that machine. We went back out and did a couple of runs, and then we wanted to make a bigger change and that took some time again. We’re very pleased with the work we have done, and while we’re not pleased with the position, we never went after a lap time today. Overall, I think we have a better pace than what the position says because we just stuck with the medium compound tyres tonight. We’ll see what we can do in a couple of weeks’ time back here in Qatar, but we are all looking forward to being back racing.”
Another big headline on the last day of pre-season came from the consistently impressive Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who was a stunning seventh on a best effort of 1m54.770s. The Spaniard put in 37 laps as the Austrian factory continue working on the details, and
Pol Espargaro – P8
“I’m impressed by the potential of our bike and what we have done here. This is normally a track where we have struggled the last two years but to see us just half a second away is great. We did a good job, a good lap and a good rhythm. The conditions can change for the race but we can take a positive feeling from this test and have a good target for the GP. We still need to work carefully and concentrate on what we are doing. The conditions at the end were tough with the humidity going up and the temperatures dropping. There were a lot of crashes. Anyway, I think we can think big, and we have to do the best we can in the race but also be safe to not lose those first points of the season.”
The second quickest KTM was actually Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) on Monday as the Portuguese rookie was within around a second of Espargaro. Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was a little further down the timesheets on Monday in P22.
Miguel Oliveira – P20
“Today we definitely found harder conditions than the two previous days because of the wind. We started a bit slow in terms of lap time but then I was picking up the pace and riding quite good. Unfortunately, a crash ended the test, but I felt I was coming stronger and also the team made quite a few changes to the bike, with which I was very satisfied.”
Johann Zarco – P19
“A bit sad with the crash. It was colder and the Medium tyre was not good enough for me so I could not improve my performance. It was a shame because it was then hard to make another step. Anyway, I got more information and experience and maybe we found a limit, so we need to work more and move that onwards. I’m too slow at the moment – for the final day here anyway – but in consistency I am not too bad and we’ll see where I can be for the race weekend. I’m quite impressed by Pol’s performance today and I’m happy for him.”
Hafizh Syahrin – P23
“I’m very happy to improve my lap time and as well about the work on the last day with the team. We know, that we are still very far, although we were quicker. I started to understand a little bit how to adapt to the bike. We tried a race simulation, which was not really bad, but also not very fast, as we needed to understand the bike. At the same time, I did a race distance for the very first time with the KTM. We need to push harder during the race weekend, this is sure. Let’s see what we can do there.”
Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati Team), meanwhile, retained his stronghold on the timesheets amongst the Borgo Panigale machines. The Italian was ninth on Day 3 after another 43 laps, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso down in P15 after 50 laps, but the pair were focused on long runs and race set-up.
Danilo Petrucci – P10
“Today we faced a bit more difficulties than expected as the conditions were quite windy, which prompted us to change the setup of the bike. However, we reacted quite well because, once I put the soft tyre on, we were able to post the best provisional time right away. Then, we switched our focus back to the race, running a simulation together with Andrea and trading positions, like what we did in Malaysia. I’m happy with the feeling with the bike: despite the colder track temperatures, we managed to be fast and I’m confident we’ll be ready come race time.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P15
“This closing day was complicated a bit by the wind, which didn’t allow to completely follow our program. We focused on some aspects and, while we’re not far from our rivals, there is still room for improvement. Honestly I can’t say I’m completely satisfied, but I’m also convinced we have strong potential and I’m confident we can have a strong race. We collected plenty of interesting data and it will be important to make the most of it to make sure we’re as ready and competitive as possible in two weeks’ time.”
The engine and fairing and bigger decisions were already made before the end of action. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) improved to tenth on his final of 57 laps, and his teammate, rookie Francesco Bagnaia, wasn’t far off in P13 – just two tenths in arrears. He was closely followed by Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat.
Jack Miller – P11
“I’m satisfied with these three days of testing. We did a good job and the race pace was very good. At the end of the day, we tried a time attack with a good lap time even if the conditions of the track were not the best. There are still some details that we need to improve but we are in the right direction.”
Pecco Bagnaia – P13
“All things considered, I’m glad about these days of testing. I think that day after day we have improved in many areas. We only did one time attack but the chrono was not a goal. The important thing was to be confident about the race pace and we did a good long run. I’ll be back in Qatar in 10 days with great motivation.”
Between that Ducati invasion were nestled both of the Team Suzuki Ecstar machines. Although third overall from his Day 2 laptime, Alex Rins ended Monday in P11 on a 1m54.852s after 41 laps and rookie teammate Joan Mir was the second quickest rookie in P12. The gap between the two Hamamatsu factory machines was only a tenth and a half…
Alex Rins – P3
“My feeling was incredible and I’m very happy. As you can see from the time sheet, my pace is there, but when pushing for my best lap time I had a small crash. All of the requests I’ve given to Suzuki this winter, they have fulfilled. I feel very positive about the way the bike has been developed – it was a challenge to improve it because the base was already very good. For sure it will be tough when we start the first race, there will be a lot of fast riders and everybody is excited to start.”
Joan Mir – P12
“I’m really happy about the pace we have, and also about my feeling with the bike. We’ve made another step forward, which is really important for the race. We feel well prepared for the start of the season, although I couldn’t quite get the lap time I wanted due to a small mistake on my flying lap. But I feel I have potential and I’m close to the pace of the top guys, just a couple of tenths per lap down on them. There’s always more work to do, but overall I feel positive about what we’ve achieved in these days.”
Aprilia, meanwhile, were happy with their improvements and although Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was P16 and Aleix Espargaro P19, they were focusing more on longer runs, for Espargaro especially – and overall across the test Espargaro was P14. The Noale factory were also happy with the adaptation shown by Iannone after the Italian had to sit out much of Sepang with illness, which is a big positive after a difficult recent run.
Aleix Espargaro’ – P14
“Today we had a true race simulation planned to prepare the base for the first race. I was obviously unable to be fast on the flying lap like I was yesterday, but that was definitely not the goal. It was also important because we brought to light a few things that need to be sorted for the race. That is why you do the simulations and now the engineers will have a large amount of data to work on. The 2019 RS-GP is significantly better than the 2018 version. Now we need to work to make the bike fast throughout the entire race distance.”
Andrea Iannone – P18
“Today was the most positive day of this test session. I am not focusing on the standings. We had another tyre available to do a time attack, but I think that it is more important to keep working on the RS-GP. Our priority is to arrive at the race with a bike that is more manageable and to successfully improve turning – aspects we need to focus on. I generally don’t make predictions and I like to keep my feet on the ground. We’ll need to take full advantage of the technical package we have available to us and then draw the sums at the end of the race.”
Bradley Smith – P22
“I think that the package Aprilia has for the season start is good. These were three days of rather intense tests. I worked both on solutions to use already here in Qatar and on developments focused on the mid to long-term. This latter aspect kept me rather busy. In two weeks I’ll be on the track in a wild card slot, but I think that improving the RS-GP over the long term is the most important thing. I kept the guys on the team busy, both with the many changes and with a little crash today, but I have to say that they did a fantastic job.”
That’s it from Qatar and preseason is officially over – now all that remains is to race. With fifteen riders ending the test within a second, KTM in the top ten, the likes of Quartararo looking incredibly fast…what will the VisitQatar Grand Prix bring? Find out from the 8th to 10th March.
MotoGP Qatar Test 2019 Day Three Times
VIÑALES, Maverick – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:54.208
QUARTARARO, Fabio – Petronas Yamaha SRT +0.233
MARQUEZ, Marc – Repsol Honda Team +0.405
ROSSI, Valentino – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.443
LORENZO, Jorge – Repsol Honda Team +0.445
MORBIDELLI, Franco – Petronas Yamaha SRT +0.452
ESPARGARO, Pol – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.562
NAKAGAMI, Takaaki – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +0.581
PETRUCCI, Danilo – Mission Winnow Ducati +0.610
MILLER, Jack – Alma Pramac Racing +0.643
RINS, Alex – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +0.644
MIR, Joan – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +0.789
BAGNAIA, Francesco – Alma Pramac Racing +0.866
RABAT, Tito – Reale Avintia Racing +1.021
DOVIZIOSO, Andrea – Mission Winnow Ducati +1.025
IANNONE, Andrea – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +1.135
CRUTCHLOW, Cal – LCR Honda CASTROL +1.482
OLIVEIRA, Miguel – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1.565
ESPARGARO, Aleix – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +1.606
SMITH, Bradley – Aprilia Factory Racing +1.864 0.258
ABRAHAM, Karel – Reale Avintia Racing +1.913
ZARCO, Johann – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.954
SYAHRIN, Hafizh – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +2.163
MotoGP Qatar Test 2019 Combined Classification
Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:54.208
Two long running stars from Repsol Honda history joined reigning World Champion Marc Marquez and new HRC recuit Jorge Lorenzo on stage in Madrid.
Mick Doohan and Alex Criville were on hand to help add yet more star power to the launch of Repsol Honda’s 2019 MotoGP World Championship campaign.
Fresh from surgery on his broken scaphoid, Jorge Lorenzo was sporting bandaging and bracing to his left wrist.
“Repsol Honda are on a different level in every way. I could see it at the Valencia test, when I had many people around me listening to what I was saying. It is a dream for any rider to be part of this team. I am very demanding on myself and always try to get the best out of each situation. I want to repay the team for all the trust they have given me with good results. I am very proud to be on a team with as many victories and as much history as Repsol Honda. I like the bike a lot, it turns in very well and is very docile. In addition, the team gave me a very warm welcome from my first day here. My main objective for 2019 is, first of all, to recover one hundred percent and be able to demonstrate on track that we really are the Dream Team that people are talking about.”
Having taken eight of the last nine world championships in the premier class, Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo form a perfect team to celebrate the 25th anniversary of HRC and Repsol joining forces.
The first riders to run in these now iconic colours, Mick Doohan and Alex Crivillé, were also able to join the special presentation to share their memories from 1995 onwards.
“It is a privilege to be part of the family that is the Repsol Honda team. When I was young and when I watched races from the sofa at my house I wanted to be here wearing these colours. It was a privilege to start collaborating with Repsol and have their support in the Spanish Championship and, later, to work with them in the World Championship. And now I’m here, helping Repsol and Honda win more titles, making their history even more successful. It’s something that makes me very happy. When I was in Moto2 I knew that I wanted to ride for Repsol Honda and I wanted to win the MotoGP title. That’s why, when journalists ask me if I’m going to change teams, I think: why would I change if I’m already part of this incredible team? Here we are a family, the relationship with Repsol and Honda is fantastic and this is something very important for achieving our goals, year after year. I hope that by the end of 2019 we can celebrate something beautiful together.”
The riders were joined on stage by Tetsuhiro Kuwata, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) Director, and Antonio Brufau, CEO of Repsol who both outlined and emphasized their plans for continual success. Carmelo Ezpleta, the CEO of Dorna and Begoña Elices, the General Director of Communications and board member at Repsol were also in attendance.
From the Honda NSR500 of Doohan and Crivillé to the RC213V of Márquez and now Lorenzo, the HRC machines have taken 168 victories in the premier class, 14 World Championships, 427 podiums, 182 fastest laps and 177 pole positions together with Repsol, forming not only the most iconic pairing in Grand Prix racing, but also the most successful.
Tetsuhiro Kuwata – HRC Director – General Manager Race Operations
“Repsol and Honda have worked together for years, 25 in fact, to achieve excellence; for our customers, for our fans and for our riders. In this long period we have maintained our determination and target of improving our products, raising the bar once again. And year on year we are getting closer and we are chasing our dreams of a better product constantly. Today, we are happy to reveal the new Repsol Honda team with two riders that have demonstrated the excellence in all areas that riders need to be the best. The Repsol Honda team is always looking for this excellent, it’s our duty to give the riders the best we can possibly can, and we believe there is no better combination than Repsol and Honda for this task.”
Among these accolades, the Repsol Honda Team have also produced four dominating titles for Mick Doohan, the first Spanish 500cc World Champion in Alex Crivillé (1999) and the youngest MotoGP champion in history – Marc Márquez. Now they celebrate their 25th anniversary and aim for even more success in the future.
Marc Marquez will now begin his final preparations for the Sepang Test (February 6 – 8) where he and the RC213V will debut the 2019 livery for the first time on track. Meanwhile, Jorge Lorenzo is set to commence an intense physical therapy routine in order to be as fit as possible for the Qatar Test (February 23 – 25). Finally the 2019 MotoGP season begins in under the floodlights in Qatar (March 07 – 10).
Antonio Brufau – Repsol CEO and Chairman
“It is an honour and a pleasure to celebrate, not only the 25th anniversary of the Repsol Honda Team, but also 50 years of Repsol supporting motor sports. The greatest riders have been part of this team and we can say that next season will not be different, since we have two athletes who have 12 world titles between them. It all started with two riders who became the references of the Motorcycle World Championship: Mick Doohan and Alex Crivillé. Today we are delighted to have with us the current World Champion, Marc Márquez, and another World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. The sum of the best riders, the best machines and the best products is a formula of success clearly demonstrated throughout all the years that we have been together. We can affirm, with pride, that the alliance between Repsol and Honda is the most lasting and successful in MotoGP. A relationship in which values such as leadership, technology and innovation are shared, as well as teamwork, determination and the culture of effort.”
Jorge Lorenzo undergoes surgery for broken scaphoid
Having sustained a broken scaphoid while training, Jorge Lorenzo has undergone successful surgery to repair the break, with a titanium screw inserted via a minimally invasive technique, aiming to get him back on track as quickly as possible.
Lorenzo will remain in hospital for 24 hours for further observation. Four days rest will give the injury sufficient time to heal from the operation and physiotherapy can then begin.
Due to the nature of the injury, Jorge Lorenzo and the Repsol Honda Team have elected that the rider will miss the Sepang Test to focus fully on his recovery. His aim is to return fully fit for the Qatar Test, February 23 to 25.
He now heads to Madrid for the 25th Anniversary Repsol Honda Team launch on January 23 alongside Marc Márquez.
The injury occured while continuing his preparations for the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, as Jorge Lorenzo suffered a fall while riding just outside of Verona, Italy. After multiple checks, it was unfortunately confirmed that the five-time world champion had sustained a broken scaphoid.
11 years in MotoGP, winner of five World Championships, 282 races, 31 years old. Jorge Lorenzo starts a new challenge this season when he joins the Repsol Honda Team. Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez will debut their full 2019 colours alongside the RC213V in Madrid later this month, January 23.
With a little over two months until the Qatar season opener, and now free to talk after his Ducati contract has expired in the new year, the 31 year old Mallorcan has offered his first official thoughts on his new partnership with Repsol Honda for MotoGP season 2019.
“Repsol Honda may be the most successful team in history. They have the most victories and titles. To compare them with a football team, they would be a Barça or a Real Madrid. There is no team with more titles and more importance worldwide than this one.
“Last season I rode a completely different bike, that was very big and very tall. Maybe it was a little too big for me. The Honda suits me better in terms of its dimensions. It is more compact, a smaller and lower bike, with which I can lean over better. I felt a little more confident when entering corners, because the closer you are to the ground, the more confidence you have. The first impression was positive and I saw a lot of potential there.
“One of the things that impressed me most was the ability of the Repsol Honda Team to react, providing what you ask for. I was quite clear, Honda took note of all my indications and within a few days they had everything ready -and we had a fuel tank almost one hundred percent to my liking.
“All riders have our strengths and our weaknesses. Marc also has them. I will try to learn from his strengths, and I guess he will try to learn from mine. We will push each other; I will want to beat him and he will want to beat me, and that always makes the team grow and helps provide new technical progress for the bike.
“When Repsol began sponsoring the Honda team in 1995 was when I started watching motorcycle racing on television. I remember the fights between Harada and my idol Max Biaggi in 250cc, but also 500cc tussles between Crivillé and Doohan, when Rossi signed for Repsol Honda and when Nicky Hayden won the World Championship in 2006. It’s a very successful team, with many victories and world titles, and now I will have the honour and pleasure of being able to belong to it.”