Ducati recently announced that Jorge Lorenzo will be making the move from Movistar Yamaha to them at the end of the season after signing a two year contract. After a few days, the news has been allowed to sink in until now when the media has had the opportunity to question those involved about this major change in the world class ahead of the fourth round of the MotoGP season in Jerez, Spain this weekend.
Lorenzo following in Rossi's footsteps
Lorenzo has been with Movistar Yamaha since 2008 when he joined after winning the 250cc championship the previous two years. With the Japanese team he has managed to win three MotoGP Championships (in 2010, 2012 and 2015). Lorenzo appears to be following in the footsteps of his current teammate Valentino Rossi who previously made the switch to the Italian team but soon returned to Yamaha.
Lorenzo the centre of attention at Jerez Pre-Race Press Conference - Getty Images
The Spaniard has appeared reluctant to speak about his recent decision that he described as “One of the most important and difficult decisions of my life and my career" and has insisted that at this moment he has all of his intention in the present as he wants to concentrate on the fifteen races remaining. Commenting on how this change is ‘still far away’ Lorenzo said, “I really want to fight in this championship and fight my hardest for my fourth. At this moment I just think in blue and try to get the best results I can with this team.”
Lorenzo, who declared himself to be "one of the most professional riders’ with a ‘focus of 100%" has determined that one of his biggest reasons for choosing to switch to Ducati for the next two years is his ‘motivation’.
He is competing in the MotoGP class for his ninth year and has set himself the challenge "to win with another bike" and "to give my maximum effort every day as I always try to". He feels he needs this new challenge in order to help his motivation now.
Lin Jarvis spoke about Lorenzo's recent decision
Lorenzo has decided to make the move to Ducati despite Yamaha making their "best proposal as a company" according to Movistar Yamaha Managing Director Lin Jarvis who was present at the press conference. He agreed that ‘Jorge was obviously looking for a new stimulus’ and that is what helped the Spaniard to make such a big decision. Jarvis put Lorenzo’s final decision down to three factors; a better proposal, the "Ducati is currently a very competitive bike" which he said made it "less daunting to change", and he felt "to be the number one in a future team" which he said was "probably something attractive".
Jarvis discusses team politics
In spite of his last statement Jarvis declared, “We’ve run Valentino and Jorge as equals” saying that it is “not easy to run with two top dogs on the same team.” Speaking about the remainder of the season he went on to say, “We’ve always treated them fairly and equally and we’ll continue to do that for the rest of the year".
An insight into who will replace Lorenzo at Yamaha
Lorenzo leaving means that there will be a place available on the Japanese team as of next season. Jarvis said, “We are looking at some people and Maverick has proven that he’s one of the future talents of the MotoGP”. He went onto compliment the Team Suzuki Ecstar rider saying, “I think he has a very good chance to be World Champion in the future and he’s an attractive rider.” However this is not final and Jarvis declared, “There are other options that we have as well” saying that there are “other riders with different profiles”. He went on to admit that “Things are never as straight forward as they seem.”
Who will make way for Lorenzo at Ducati?
In addition to a replacement rider being sought for the Yamaha team, Ducati have to decide who out of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, who currently rides for the Italian team, will remain at Ducati as Lorenzo’s teammate, and who will have to go elsewhere.
Dovizioso has had an unfortunate start to the season having being taken out of two of the four rounds by other riders, one of those being his teammate. In Argentina Dovizioso was set to take a podium up until the last corner when Iannone crashed out and into Dovizoso. His race was not over there though as he picked his bike up and pushed it across the finish line to finish in thirteenth claiming three points. At the Circuit of the Americas the same happened with Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa earlier on in the race however this time Dovizioso was unable to re-join.
Dovizioso is feeling lucky
Dovizioso, who felt "lucky" following the crash at COTA remains positive with his own performance and that of the Desmosedici GP after the four rounds saying that he had to ‘look at the reality’ of the results’ where he felt they "had the speed" and that they "had the chances to finish all three races in the podium". He is disappointed in the championship as he currently sits in seventh with twenty-three points (forty-three behind leader Marc Marquez), however is right to not accept the blame for this saying ‘it’s not our fault’.
Dovizioso's views as Lorenzo's move to Ducati
The Italian is looking at Lorenzo’s decision positively saying that “It means in the last four years we have done a good job and Ducati have a chance to bring a world champion in”. Dovizioso feels ‘relaxed’ due to the fact that, “the results were there, the speed was there this season and it’s completely different this year”. He appears to not feel at risk of being forced to leave Ducati and confirmed “the relationship with Ducati is good” and mentioned “they know very well what I did for them in these four year”; his main focus is with the results.
Iannone in agreement with Dovizioso
Iannone seemed less sure about his future at Ducati, he did not appear at the pre-race conference but when interviewed said, “I believe I have a lot to offer the team”. Similar to Dovizioso Iannone feels, “It’s a great thing that Lorenzo is joining, regardless of who remains with him”. He reflected Dovizioso’s thoughts saying, “It shows the work Ducati is doing, so it’s right they look to the top rider and Lorenzo is the right man”.
Iannone reluctant to speak about his future at Ducati
When questioned about his future with Ducati Iannone seemed less confident declaring, “I am not in a rush to decide my future as I’m not interested in talking about the transfer market”. He is relying on his future performances and said, “I’ve shown what I am capable of and I just have to put my talent on display”.
Unfortunately for Iannone, he has the reputation as ‘The Maniac’. He can be fast on track however he is not as consistent as Dovizioso with the results and has been involved in some incidents which can be seen as dangerous (for example referring back to the incident in Argentina with his teammate). He has a more mature approach now and said, “I learned that I have to focus more and rely less on my instinct.”
Iannone hoping to impress Ducati in Jerez
The interviews have come ahead of the fourth round of the MotoGP season at Jerez, Spain. Over the last four years a different rider has won here in the premier class. Lorenzo won last year at what is classed as his home GP. Iannone won here when he was in the Moto2 class in 2011 and said Jerex is a "track I like a lot". The Italian believes he has the "potential to continue in this positive direction" after claiming a podium at COTA. He feels the "Desmosedici GP is really a competitive machine” and looks forward to Jerez where he says he can “continue the good job I’m doing with my team.”