It’s already been this season’s most interesting week in off-track MotoGP action, but now there’s more news: Jorge Lorenzo has returned to the Yamaha factory team. Now, he’s going to be a test rider, not a racer.
It’s a move that makes sense; Lorenzo won his 2010, 2012 and 2015 titles with Yamaha, and rode with them from 2008 through 2016. After his rookie season with Yamaha, where he finished fourth overall in the standings, he never finished below third overall when he rode there. Obviously, he’s got great history riding for Yamaha.
The news comes on top of the revelation that Yamaha has extended Maverick Vinales’ contract through 2022, and also signed Fabio Quartararo for 2021 and 2022. Valentino Rossi has been promised a factory contract and bike at the end of the 2020 season, but it might not be with the big team. All in all, it’s very interesting times at Yamaha, and it’s no surprise Lorenzo wants back in.
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that Lorenzo was in the news over his retirement. He’d been with the Honda factory team for the 2019 season, and had horrible results, especially with a bad crash at Assen that resulted in a back injury. At that time, there was considerable speculation about his future plans, and now we know what’s next.
“Returning to Yamaha brings with it some good memories,” Lorenzo said. “We secured many podiums and victories, and three titles together, so we know where our strengths lie. I want to thank Yamaha for this opportunity, because this allows me to do what I love – riding motorbikes and pushing the limit – whilst enjoying a slightly calmer lifestyle than I did in previous years.”
Lorenzo starts his new job next week, with pre-season testing in Sepang.