Some people are saying it is looking certain that Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo will be making the move to the Ducati team from the 2017 season. The 2015 MotoGP Champion has yet to confirm this despite some speculating that a deal to move to to Ducati is 99% confirmed through a verbal agreement.
What are his options?
Lorenzo is a championship winner which means that the Spaniard is more than likely sought after by more than just the Ducati team. He has ridden for Yamaha since 2008; and many are of the opinion that he has spent that time in the shadow of teammate Valentino Rossi; it is the Rossi replicas that are seen worldwide being sold for Yamaha after all. But Lorenzo in his own right has got his own successful career with Yamaha having won three championship titles after progressing from the 2500cc championships where he won two years on the bounce from 2006.
Most of the attention surrounding him is unconfirmed rumours that he is moving to Ducati, but undoubtedly as the current champion, other teams will have shown interest in him and although the Ducati move is favoured among the media surely Lorenzo has considered every move possible.
Lorenzo moving to Ducati?
Discussions seem to be focused around Lorenzo’s ‘almost definite verbal agreement’ with Ducati. It seems many fans are looking forward to seeing Lorenzo take on a challenge that has only seen Australian Casey Stoner successful on. But since his personal battle with mental health issues, the Australian decided not to compete in the MotoGP Championship any more although he is still the test rider for the Italian team.
So if Lorenzo was to move to Ducati chances are he would be successful under Stoner’s guidance, but who would be his teammate. Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone both look strong on the Ducati; however ‘The Maniac’ Iannone lives up to his reputation and is not consistent with finished; he sure does make things interesting though! One of the Italians would have to go to make way for Lorenzo so who and where will they go?
Giacamo Agostini shared his impressions about the Spaniard moving, but said ‘he will not have better equipment than he has at Yamaha’. He recently revealed that Ducati had given Lorenzo a ‘super offer’.
Lorenzo moving to Honda?
Marc Marquez has been more successful with the Repsol Honda team and has took a much more mature approach to the 2016 season after collecting many DNFs last year. Chances are Lorenzo would either join the current two riders and the team expand, or maybe even replace Dani Pedrosa.
I feel bad saying this about a much liked personality who is consistent despite being plagued by injuries. Pedrosa does collect podiums and is usually up there within the top five but did not look like he would be within championship contention until the end of the last season when we witnessed the ‘old’ Pedrosa that we know and love.
Will Lorenzo want to be in Marquez’s shadow instead though? Or would he prefer to go somewhere where he is the number one rider?
Lorenzo moving to Suzuki?
Team Suzuki Ecstar will be starting their third season if Lorenzo goes to join them in 2017. Maverick Vinales (who has a get out clause of his contract) has made a great start to the 2016 season, despite crashing in Argentina, but the ‘evolving’ bike looked strong as he flew past the Yamahas and fought off the Ducati riders in the meantime. At Suzuki, Lorenzo would have a project to complete which is already in progress, could he help to take them that step further? Having him onside would mean he is one less potential Yamaha rider to fight, but who would he replace?
Lorenzo moving to KTM or Aprilia?
Speaking of projects KTM are set to join the MotoGP class in 2017 with British rider Bradley Smith already announcing that he is set to make the move from Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. If Lorenzo really wanted a challenge why not join this team or that of Aprilia who are in their first season of MotoGP this year? But to me Lorenzo does not seem the type; he likes to win? Yes he helped to develop the M1 and has experienced success with it; but this is a bike that was already developed by Valentino Rossi; the Italian deserves a lot of the credit after turning this bike into what it is now.
Lorenzo staying with Yamaha?
Despite winning the first race of the season in Qatar, Lorenzo has looked troubled. He does not seem settled on his bike and this is probably due to the weight of the decision he has to make weighing on his mind. However he has experienced great success with Yamaha. As much as the two do not appear to always get on, they produce great results for the team; for example, they finished as the top two riders in the riders championship last year and Yamaha won the Manufacturer’s Championship as a result.
At the end of the season last year, following on from the incident in Sepang which resulted in Rossi receiving three penalty points and having to start the final race of the season from the start of the grid, it was Lorenzo who was found in the officials’ office insisting that the punishment be harsh for his teammate. Is this what is stopping Lorenzo from wanting to stay at Yamaha? Or is it more Yamaha nudging him out the door as this is not the way one of their riders should act towards other representative?
Is he waiting to get accumulate more money and keep the teams battling for him to join them? When Rossi moved to Yamaha it was following lots of private discussions in secret locations to avoid increased speculation. The attention is surrounding Lorenzo at the moment, so surely we will hear soon so that Lorenzo does not have to put up with pressure for much longer, will he move at all?
Lorenzo's latest attempt to silence rumours
Lorenzo's lastest comment came in the pre-race press conference ahead of the third round at the Circuit of the Americas where he claimed, "I cannot tell you more than in Argentina!" In an attempt to silence the questions he then went on to say, "When my decision is made in the future you will all know!"
Either way, what these riders are doing is amazing! Teams should not hesitate to give them more money as they are risking their lives to reach the limit, to win for their, to entertain the fans and to race their hearts out! The amount riders get is incomparable to the amount footballers receive. Surely it is in Lorenzo’s best interests to make a decision sooner rather than later, to banish the rumours, distraction and pressure before he loses more points towards his own championship race. But, if he goes, who will replace him?