MotoGP racer Jorge Lorenzo has announced his retirement from roadracing, effective after this weekend’s race at Valencia.
Lorenzo is 32, and started racing even before he went to school. He’s a five-time world champion, winning two 250 titles, back in the two-stroke days, and three MotoGP titles, most recently in 2015. And, perhaps most significantly, he’s the only racer to ever beat Marc Marquez out for the MotoGP title.
Lorenzo was a big challenge to Marquez in the early years of Marquez’s career, but after Lorenzo left Yamaha at the end of the 2016 season, he had a crummy season-and-a-half with Ducati. Towards the end of 2018, Lorenzo managed to put things back together, but a crash at Aragon meant he missed races and finished ninth overall in the standings. In 2019, he made a huge move to the Repsol Honda team, debuting as Marquez’s new teammate, but a combination of learning a new motorcycle and a crash at Assen resulted in a back injury that seems to have put everything perspective for him.
“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 the hell I’m doing here? Is this really worth it? I’m done with it,” Lorenzo said.
“The truth is from that crash, the hill became too high for me, and even if I tried 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 especially at this stage of my career.”
Although Lorenzo has often been resented by media and fans alike for his lack of emotion when compared to other more flamboyant racers, he seemed to let a bit of that stony exterior slip at his press conference, apologizing profusely to Honda for letting them down this year (he’s currently 19th overall), and reflecting on his 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 that explained the life of the only Indian whoever 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. No one has been as successful as me, but especially most of them did not even make it to the world championship, having to go to work in common jobs. That’s why I feel so lucky to be able to archive much more than I ever imagine I could archive 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 sincerely thank all of these people. Especially Carmelo and Dorna for the treatment and for making MotoGP so great. Derbi, Aprilia, Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, specially Giampiero Sachi, Gigi Dalligna, 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 done 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 that work with me as a personal team, with special 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 everything.”