Jorge Lorenzo Retires From MotoGP - A Career Retrospective

Jorge Lorenzo is set to retire from motorcycle racing. The 32-year-old Spaniard has decided to end his career as a result of the disastrous season at Repsol Honda, hampered by extreme crashes and severe injury, and never having become comfortable on the bike.

"I always thought that there are four significant days for a rider," Lorenzo told a specially convened press conference at Valencia. "The first is you first race, the second your first win and then your first world championship - not everyone can win a world championship but some of us made it – and then the day you retire."

The decision to retire came because he could no longer summon the required energy to continue at the level which was necessary. "Everything started when I was three years old, almost 30 years of complete dedication to my sport," Lorenzo said. "People who work with me know how much of a perfectionist I am, how much energy and intensity I have always put into my sport."

"This level of perfectionism requires a lot of motivation, that is why after nine years at Yamaha – so wonderful, probably the best years that I enjoyed in my career – I felt that I needed a change, if I wanted to keep this full commitment to my sport. That’s why I wanted to move to Ducati, it gave me a big boost of motivation and even though the results were very bad, I used the motivation to not give up and keep fighting until I achieved this beautiful Mugello victory in front of all the Ducati fans."

Shattered dreams

"Then later, when I signed to Honda, you gave me another big boost because I achieved something all riders dream of, to become HRC rider for Repsol Honda. Unfortunately, injuries came very soon to play an important rule in my results and performance, so I wasn’t able to be in normal physical condition to be fast or competitive."

"This plus a bike that didn’t feel natural to me, gave me a lot of problems to be competitive like I want to be. Anyway, I never lost patience and keep working with the team thinking it was probably only a matter of time until everything came into the right place."

The crashes at Barcelona and Assen were the catalyst that caused him to reconsider his desire to keep racing, Lorenzo explained. "Then, when I was starting to see some light in the tunnel, the nasty crash at the Montmelo test happened. And then some days later I crashed again in this ugly Assen crash, which you know the consequences that created."

"I have to admit when I was rolling in the gravel and I stood up, I thought to myself ‘OK Jorge, is this really worth it?’ After all that I have achieved, to keep suffering… I am done with it, I don’t want to race anymore."

The right choice

It took him a long time to make a permanent decision, however. He wanted to make sure it was the right choice. "But then I came back home and decided to give it a try. I didn't want to make any early decision. So I kept going. But the truth is from that moment the hill became so high and so big for me that I was not able to find the motivation, the patience to keep trying to climb this mountain."

Lorenzo expressed his regret for Honda, after they had given him the opportunity, and put so much time and effort into trying to make it work for him. "So I have to say I feel very sorry for Honda. Especially Alberto, who was the one who gave me this opportunity. I remember very well that day in Montmelo test, one of the first meetings I had with him, to start chatting about my move to Honda. And I said to him, 'Alberto don’t make a mistake, signing the wrong rider! Trust me and you will not regret it'."

"Sadly, I have to say, I disappointed him. I disappointed Honda. Takeo [Yokoyama], [Tetsuhiro] Kuwata and [Yoshishiga] Nomura-san [HRC president]. However I think this is the best decision for me and for the team because Honda and Jorge Lorenzo cannot fight to just score some points or even top five or podium, that I think could be possible with time. I think we are both winners that need to fight to win."

Tough road

The decision comes after a turbulent couple of years in Lorenzo's career. It all started with Lorenzo's decision to leave Yamaha, after feeling he was not treated with respect by Yamaha after the controversial end to the 2015 MotoGP season, in which Lorenzo won the championship ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi. He signed for Ducati at the start of the 2016 season, and would switch to the Italian brand in 2017.

Lorenzo had a difficult first year with Ducati in 2017, struggling to adapt to a much more physical bike. Despite that, he showed signs of promise, scoring three podiums that year. But a conflict with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali caused Lorenzo to decide to leave at the end of 2018, making his decision after the race at Le Mans. The next race, Mugello, Lorenzo won on the Ducati for the first time, then won the next race at Barcelona as well. He would end the season with three victories on the Desmosedici, his season cut short by crashes at Aragon and Thailand.

The run of success on the Ducati came too late. He had already signed for Repsol Honda, to partner Marc Márquez in 2019. After promising post-season tests at Valencia and Jerez in November 2018, 2019 got off to a bad start, as Lorenzo fractured a scaphoid training on a dirt track bike. That meant he missed the Sepang test in February, and only got on the 2019 Honda RC213V at the Qatar test.

A wrong turning

Lorenzo never really got comfortable on the 2019 bike, though he showed signs of progress in the early part of the season. But things went wrong in Barcelona. The Repsol Honda rider had a massive crash during the test, in which he suffered minor damage to his vertebrae. Two weeks later, at Assen, he crashed heavily during practice, fracturing two vertebrae in his neck and back.

Lorenzo never fully recovered from that crash, still suffering pain when he rode the Honda. Lacking confidence in the front end, a crucial part of Lorenzo's riding, didn't help, and he was constantly afraid of another crash. Though the vertebrae were healing well, the seed of doubt had been planted. Lorenzo had come within a hair of suffering a spinal injury which would have meant he might never have walked again. Spinal injuries and head injuries are the two things riders fear most. Pain, they can endure. Life changing injuries are a different ball game.

Rising star

So comes an end to a remarkable career in motorcycle racing. Jorge Lorenzo was raised by his father to be a world champion, father Chicho even writing a book about how to raise a child to be a champion. Lorenzo entered Grand Prix racing in 2002, at Jerez, the third round of that season, having had to wait until he was 15 years of age to join the Grand Prix paddock.

He won his first race the following year, 2003, at the Rio Grand Prix in Jacarepaguá in Brazil. The next year, he won three races, finishing fourth in the 125cc championship.

In 2005, Lorenzo moved up to the 250cc class, where soon found success. After a year of adapting to the class, scoring six podiums, he took the 250cc title the following two seasons. Yamaha had recognized his talent early, starting talks with Lorenzo in 2006, the Spaniard moving up to partner Valentino Rossi in the factory Yamaha team in 2008.

Yamaha rivalry

That was the start of a fraught relationship. Yamaha had brought Lorenzo in as insurance, after Valentino Rossi had shown an interest in either retiring or going off to race on four wheels, in F1 or Endurance. Rossi resented the presence of Lorenzo, and had actively worked to prevent Yamaha from signing the Spaniard. Even in 2007, Rossi's then teammate Colin Edwards was telling journalists that Yamaha would be keeping him in the factory team because Rossi didn't want Lorenzo as a teammate.

That Rossi was unhappy with Lorenzo as a teammate was evident from the start. The Italian made the switch to Bridgestone tires in 2008, but demanded that only he would get the Bridgestones, leaving Lorenzo on Michelins, and giving him an excuse to erect a wall in the garage, and stop the sharing of data, as neither Michelin nor Bridgestone would allow data to be shared between the two riders.

Lorenzo made a spectacular start to his MotoGP career, in every sense of the word. He took pole position at the first three races of 2008. We was on the podium at Qatar and Jerez, before getting his first win in just his third MotoGP race, at Estoril in Portugal. At the next race in China, he managed to highside himself to the moon, smashing both ankles, but finishing fourth in the race nonetheless.

The next race, Barcelona, he had another huge smash, knocking himself unconscious and earning a stay in hospital. It taught him a valuable lesson, and it him some time to find his feet again, only returning to the podium six races later at Misano.

Champion at last

In 2009, Lorenzo made his first full bid for the title, finishing second behind his teammate Valentino Rossi. In 2010, he finally achieved his lifetime goal, winning the world championship after Rossi suffered his first major injury, breaking a leg at Mugello, and missing three races.

That was the year that Valentino Rossi had had enough of being Jorge Lorenzo's teammate, and departed for an ill-fated spell at Ducati, replacing Casey Stoner, who had moved to Honda. Stoner formed an almost unbeatable combination with the Honda, taking the title from Lorenzo in 2011, though Lorenzo got his revenge in 2012, winning the MotoGP title for a second time, becoming the first Spanish rider to win multiple titles in the premier class.

2013 saw the arrival of Marc Márquez, replacing the retiring Casey Stoner. Márquez made an even bigger impact than Lorenzo had on his debut, winning the championship at his first try. In doing so, Márquez pushed Lorenzo as Lorenzo had pushed Rossi before him, forcing him to extend himself to the limit to try to retain his crown.

Man of steel

That year saw what would become perhaps the defining moment in Jorge Lorenzo's career. At Assen, during a soaking wet FP2 on Thursday, Lorenzo hit a patch of water as he entered the terrifyingly fast right-left kink of Hoge Heide. He landed heavily, and broke his collarbone. Desperate to hold onto his chances of retaining the title, he flew back to Barcelona on Thursday night, had his collarbone plated by Dr Mir, and then flew back to Assen late on Friday night.

Lorenzo was passed fit on Saturday morning, ended morning warm up in eighth, then went on to finish the race in fifth position starting from last on the grid. He had lost only two points to championship leader Dani Pedrosa, and been far more competitive than anyone expected.

It was an other-worldly performance. The effort of the race had taken every ounce of grit and determination he had in his body. He had dealt with pain and suffering he never imagined existed, and triumphed over it. "I did something incredible that shows how the mind can push the body to the limits," Lorenzo said of that race.

But the crash came at a huge cost. Two weeks later, Lorenzo crashed again during practice, bending the plate on his collarbone. This time, he did not fly off for surgery and try to race, but instead came back a week later for the race at Laguna Seca.

Enter doubt

Since the 2013 Assen crash, Lorenzo lost confidence in mixed conditions. He was still hard to beat in the dry, and fast when it was fully wet, but when grip was low, he suffered. It was partially a testament to his style, his ability to carry corner speed hampered by a lack of grip. But it was also because never found the confidence to push in tricky conditions, to try to put heat into the tires and trust that they would carry him.

2014 was a year of recovery for Lorenzo, coming back from multiple surgeries during the winter. He turned up at Sepang out of shape and overweight, and it took him a season to get back in form. That year stood him in good stead, however, Lorenzo capitalizing on an underperforming Honda forcing Márquez into mistakes in 2015, and triumphing over his teammate at the end of the year to take the title.

That was also not without controversy. The feud between Rossi and Márquez blew up during the flyaways, and while Lorenzo got on with the job of trying to win races and taking back the championship lead from Valentino Rossi, Rossi got caught up in conspiracy theories about Márquez' behavior at Phillip Island, and the penalty Rossi was given as a result of running Márquez off the track at Sepang handed the title to Lorenzo.

Conflict

Lorenzo's career since then was defined by conflict, of one sort or another. The Spaniard felt that Yamaha hadn't supported him enough when he won that very controversial championship, and so left for Ducati. He was lured to Ducati by Gigi Dall'Igna and a salary of €25 million over two years, with Dall'Igna believing that Lorenzo was the last piece in the puzzle that would bring them the MotoGP title.

But Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali had opposed the signing of Lorenzo, wary of paying a famous rider a lot of money to try to win a title. Ducati's experience with Valentino Rossi had made him skeptical of this strategy, and though Lorenzo showed signs of promise, Domenicali's patience ran out, and he made pointed remarks about the Spaniard. Those remarks wounded Lorenzo's pride, and he held meetings with Repsol Honda at Barcelona, signing a contract for 2019 and 2020 with the team before Mugello.

At Mugello, Lorenzo's season turned around with a win, and he went on to look like a force which could threaten the hegemony of Marc Márquez and Repsol Honda. But it was not to be.

Breaking the mold

What is Jorge Lorenzo's legacy? He was the fourth of the so-called MotoGP Aliens, the foursome which dominated the series between 2006 and 2012. Along with Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, and Casey Stoner, they took victory in almost every MotoGP race between 2007 and 2012. Only exceptional conditions would allow others to prevail. Ironic, then, that Lorenzo's retirement leaves the first of those Aliens, Valentino Rossi, as the last one left on the grid.

Lorenzo is also a defining rider for Spanish motorcycle racing. He was the first Spanish MotoGP champion, and the second premier class champion after Alex Crivillé took the 500cc crown in 1999. But he was also the first Spanish rider to win multiple titles, his second in 2012 arguably more significant than his first in 2010.

He will be remembered for his time with Yamaha, above all. His style and smoothness was unparalleled, his ability to brake late, fling the bike on its side, and get drive out of corners, all while looking like he wasn't even trying, was what confounded his rivals. His corner speed was legendary. "The only time I get the same lean angle as Jorge is just before I crash," Cal Crutchlow would joke, when he was at Tech3 Yamaha, and could see Lorenzo's data from the factory team.

Standing trackside, watching Lorenzo brake, tip in, turn, and then exit, you never noticed he had even moved on the bike. He was so smooth, his motion so fluid, it was hard to get your head around. Watching him, it was hard not to think of the T1000 from the movie Terminator 2, as if Lorenzo was made of molten metal and flowing from one side of the bike to the other.

Lorenzo is an unusual character, a result of the upbringing by his father. Deprived of a normal childhood by his father, forced to train and practice and improve, working for his father's goal of raising a MotoGP champion. Jorge Lorenzo made that goal his own, and achieved and exceeded that objective. He was, in his own words, not just a great rider, but also a great champion. He will be missed in retirement.


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year: 
2019
round_number: 
19
Total votes: 77
Total votes: 44

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Comments

You've been my main man since you came into MotoGP. Two 250 and three MotoGP championships were utterly fantastic but that win at Mugello on the Ducati was epic!

Would like to wish you the very best at whatever you decide to do in the future. Buena fortuna y camino despejado por delante!

And thank you David, for the Career Retrospective. You captured it all, the ups and the downs, the frictions and the triumphs.
Total votes: 26

Well that's the most surprising unsurprising news of the year. This year's been a sad way to end Jorge's amazing career, I remember seeing him at Silverstone several years ago at Copse. Most of the riders were doing some variation of Rossi's leg dangle or drifting the back wheel a little into the corner. Jorge stuck out like a sore thumb, his Yamaha seemed to just go round the corner like it was a scalextric toy. It's something that never seemed to stand out on camera the way it did at the track. Glad I got to see it.

.

On a different note, surely that means Zarco's about to sign a 1 year deal with Honda?

Total votes: 9

Smooth like butter. I was always a fan. I cried, and then cried more during the retrospective. Together with the video of Rainey riding, I'm turning into a blubbering fool. May he heal up and help Yamaha as a tester.

Total votes: 23

A world champion.

Congratulations Mr.Lorenzo.

Enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Total votes: 18

Grew up watching the four aliens fight it out, race after race, year after year.  Jorge will be missed.  

Total votes: 12

Grew up watching the four aliens fight it out, race after race, year after year.  Jorge will be missed.  

Total votes: 10

While it may be easy to say that he lost his ability to ride in mixed conditions after Assen crash in 2013, or more recently with the back injuries and Honda mis-match you certainly cannot deny that Lorenzo has the fire in the belly and mental strength of a champion.  To battle against Rossi on track and in the same garage was a real test as he entered MotoGP class and he showed that warrior mentality for the next decade.  Much respect to Jorge and I wish him the best in retirement.

Total votes: 19

I admired the way he took Valentino's mind games and turned them back upon him, the more Rossi complained and tried to stick the knife in, the more Jorge appeared to find it amusing, and found other little things to get under his skin.

 

The Old Master had to give in and moved on. 

Total votes: 29

I feel the same way about Lorenzo's retirement now as I did with Stoner's... Frankly I never appreciated either of them as much as I should have and I suspect others might feel the same way. Their personalities made it difficult at times, but in hindsight I feel that I (and surely others) were in the wrong. They were both great champions, and like some others here I also felt a tear come to my eye in both instances. Jorge was the only one with the mental fortitude and the speed to take the title from Marquez in the modern era. I feel we are still a couple years away from anyone else coming close given the Marquez domination of today. For that reason I will also miss you Jorge, you were a great champion, the last of the original aliens, and proof that this silly concept of an alien was perhaps not so silly by beating the best rider of our modern era. Best wishes & thanks for your excellent write-up David.

Total votes: 23

Big news!
Understandable. Options looked dim. Good for him taking the tough decision. Doing it in Spain to close the year will go fittingly well.

Who to fill his spot?
Zarco, or...it could be the younger Marquez. Both interesting.

My mind is drawn right away to something else - it was odd that Yamaha just let Folger go and announced that it would be ok going back to their prev Japanese test riders. Where is Jorge going to want to link himself for post-racing...Honda? Ducati? He was also not long ago pursuing options to ride for next year (Duc), not signaling a wish to go fishing. The fit is just too good to not see coming.

Watch - Jorge will be the new Yamaha Test/replacement rider. Yes, there is some intuitive extrapolation, but it just adds up too neatly. Betcha some ham. He starts on light duty, and gets help healing w their training staff. This is really cool if so. Very exciting prospect.

Total votes: 19

Personally for me, a very sad day, but not unexpected. I adored him in his 250cc chuppa chup fortuna days - the 2nd best 250 rider I ever saw behind biaggi, and took that beautiful style to moto gp. 

He beat rossi, Marquez and stoner in their pomp, no mean feat. 

I wish him all the best for the future. Yamaha test rider perhaps, as they have dropped folger??

Total votes: 15

Adios Jorge Lorenzo.

Great rider, great racer and champion.

Wishing Jorge the best of luck this weekend, no more injuries please.

I will miss Jorge Lorenzo. We will remember Lorenzo for a long time.

Adios 99 ¡Buena suerte!

Total votes: 13

Shock announcement and touching presser (the hammer). But...how long until the coming-out-of-retirement announcement dressed in red? He's already planting seeds: "I would have liked to continue and win a title at Ducati." "Never say never." (the butter)

Total votes: 15

OK, so Jorge, Vale, and Marc are out together for dinner with friends and a fly lands near each of them. Vale grabs one and slips it into someone else's drink, and the whole table laughs. Marc grabs another, pulls its wings off, and stares at it for his own amusement. The whole table grimaces. Jorge grabs the last fly, brings it up to eye level...and lectures it about its many shortcomings and the lack of respect it has shown him. And the whole table pays attention.

The Tragedy I am sure I may be alone in this, but the worst thing to have happened to Jorge may have been his winning the 2015 Championship. I have always had this nagging little voice whispering to me about how Jorge's life might have been so much better if he had just lost that year (but then, sometimes that same voice whispers that Vale should have gone to Ferrari in 2009). But losing is not what Champions like Jorge do. So instead Shakespeare's Othello played out around him in MotoGP for 2015...except with even more Iago's than the original...and none of that was any of Jorge's fault. But it can be fairly argued that in the end it was Lorenzo who paid the highest price for all that needless and silly drama...far more so than the actual antagonists. And as David has pointed out (at the time it happened and since) Jorge's 2015 performance may go down as the least celebrated Championship in recent memory. Hell, Yonny Hernandez got a better post-season party in 2015 than what Yamaha tossed for Lorenzo. But strip away all of the drama...as if that could actually be done...and his riding that year stands by itself as simply brilliant. But career-wise, all it really accomplished was to set the stage for the next act, which was...

The Farce Since 2006-2007 happened so long ago, in an era most young people today seem to think was probably about the same time Noah was letting animals off the Ark, we tend to forget the sheer brilliance of Jorge on his 250cc Aprilia. Around the Outside was not then a branding slogan, it was just Jorge's brilliance on display. His skill and daring in his two 250cc championship years was breath-taking, and left an indelible mark on anyone who witnessed it. And one who witnessed it from very near was a much younger Gigi Dall'igna, who was still in Noale and building Aprilia's world beaters for the Sophomore class. So it is not surprising that when Gigi was transforming the Ducati Turnip Truck he inherited into a winning motorcycle, that he would think Lorenzo could be the final piece of the puzzle. What Dall'igna did not foresee was that it would all go pear-shaped because two proud men, Domenicalli and Lorenzo, couldn't stop lecturing each other from different rooms long enough to have a real conversation and sort things out. And to elevate this from misfortune to farce...success for both of them came only came after the die was cast and everyone's future had already been spun out by the fates. At Mugello in 2018 Jorge and the Ducati were finally transforming into the winning combination Gigi had hoped for, and for Lorenzo the GP18 was finally an instrument he could show his talents with. But it was all just castles built on sand because both knew that the band had already packed up and left, the chairs had been stacked on the tables, and the party they had planned together for the last eighteen months was over before it ever had a chance to begin. And on his way out the door of that sad triumph, a few more races and a few more wins later, for good measure Jorge's Ducati decided that now would be an excellent time to try and kill him, and through mechanical failure his GP18 made a real go of doing just that. I will leave the HRC events that followed to others, because to me it has all seemed like someone decided that after the glowing reviews Othello had garnered, remaking Rashamon was just the thing MotoGP needed this year...except with 50% more murk. All I know is what I learned from the original version, which was pretty much fuck-all except that a Samurai is probably dead someplace and a collection of idiots hasn't a clue why. Or, in modern parlance; "Mistakes were made".

The Glory To me this will always be, alongside his 250cc years, Jorge's time on the Yamaha from 2010-2012. And to put a bow on it, Rossi didn't leave Yamaha because he was bored with winning. He left because Lorenzo demonstrated, in every way that mattered, that starting in 2010 he could simply out ride Vale on the same bike and the same tires. And yes, you could point to Vale's injury in 2010, and argue that one doesn't count, but the reality is that prior to getting hurt Jorge already had Rossi's number. And damn near everyone else's for the next few years (except for Stoner one memorable Summer, but since Casey doesn't breathe oxygen or come from this planet, he doesn't count). There was a lot of talk in those years that Lorenzo's wins weren't entertaining enough, that watching him cut inch-precise corners lap after lap, alone and out front with a pace nobody else could live with, lacked excitement...but I could never get on board with those detractors. It would be like saying a Rembrandt was sorta OK, but could have been a whole lot better if only someone had crammed a bunch more paintings in next to it.

And lest we forget, Lorenzo was, at least in my opinion, one of the great development riders of the modern era, and was never properly credited for his talent in that field. Vale, Furusawa, and Burgess may have mined and rough-cut the M1 stone, but it was Jorge who polished it into the Jewel it became. So much so that Vinales and Quartararo are reliably rumored to still be using variants of Jorge's 2015 chassis this year. His contributions at Ducati as a development rider are also still not properly recognized, but when it was all done and dusted, the GP18 he left behind sat almost two inches higher than the GP17 he inherited. And when the heavily revised 2020 RC213V starts to bare its fangs next week in testing, with a different CG height and front to rear weight balance that restores a whole bunch of front end feel...think kind thoughts of Mr. Lorenzo.

Via con Dios I never get sad at someone else's retirement party. I rejoice in it. Jorge played a very dangerous game, he played it at the highest level, and he won. He leaves with all his limbs functioning and his pockets full. If you want me to get all weepy, try telling me about farmers in Southern Sudan, not Jorge. My one regret is that he spent so much of today apologizing. I would have preferred another stern lecture ending with the final line; Not just a great rider...a Champion. Well, I hope at least the fly paid attention to you. There was always so much to learn from Lorenzo if we did. Cheers

Total votes: 37

I'll disagree with Jinx that he spent too much time apologizing. I thought it was the best retirement speech I ever heard and it came from a motorcycle racer! In my mind, Jorge was always honest with his audience. Today he was carefully, but brutally honest in explaining to us where he was in his life and why. The first time he lapped on that M1, we all knew Rossi was in for a serious test. Jorge admitted his Yamaha years were his best, but then he also was very proud of his Mugello victory for Gigi. That he reflected on his first meeting with Puig and the promise he made says a lot about Jorge Lorenzo. He wanted us to know he let him down. Not many athletes would share that at a presser. I admire him for it. For me the most frustrating episode in Lorenzo's career was Claudio Domenicali butting in and ruining everything. That guy should just leave the racing to GiGi and stick to being the Audi hired hand that he is. 

Total votes: 32

Thank you for this post, and one I agree with fully.  

 

Total votes: 10

for him leaving Ducati (other than not starting to win earlier)? My understanding is that Domenicali never wanted him in the first place and he gave JL's seat to Petrucci before Mugello, so not much JL could have done to remain on the Duc...

Total votes: 7

Jorge had a long time at or near the top of the sport.  It’s a wise man who listens to the counsel of others and knows when “it’s time”.

I still have my JL99 Yamaha tee, which I will wear for his last race in MotoGP.

At his best, just superlative.  I suspect, though, that for all the talking up of the Michelins, he would have been happier if Bridgestone had been allowed to remain as the supplier.  Not sure the Michelin grip is balanced at both ends, and this caused many of his problems on the Honda (IMHO).

Total votes: 11

...But I respected his achievements and the way he dealt with adversity. I truly wanted to see him win at least one race on the Honda—for his sake.

He was finicky and sometimes difficult to deal with, but when things worked right he was a wonderful rider to watch. I am sad to see him leave but am glad he retired before things got any worse or he injured himself further.

 

Total votes: 15

I think Jinx has pretty much nailed it.  Like him, I never understood the animosity toward Jorge Lorenzo.  The man is unique.  We need another rider like Jorge.  

Now let us look at Yamaha's success since Jorge left.  To use a Shakespearean quote: "Oh what a falling off was there!"

In 2017, newly signed Maverick Vinales won three MotoGP races for Yamaha.  Valentino Rossi zero.  In 2018, Vinales won just one race (Phillip Island); Rossi zero.

Over at Ducati in 2017, Jorge's arrival lit a fire under Andrea Dovizioso, who won six races for the Italian brand that year.  Jorge scored three podiums, and damn near won the race at Sepang, which he led until the last lap.

In 2018, Ducati won seven MotoGP races: four for Dovizioso and three for Lorenzo.

In 2019, Yamaha has won two races (Assen and Sepang).  Ducati has won three races - Losail and the Red Bull Ring (Dovizioso) and Mugello (Petrucci).  Suzuki has matched Yamaha's wins, Alex Rins winning in Texas and at Silverstone.

The other 11 races have been won by Honda (Marc Marquez).

One can speculate that Yamaha would have been more successful had Lorenzo stayed and Rossi had been encouraged to run his own MotoGP team (this was on the cards and was cited by Tech 3's Herve Poncheral as the reason he went to KTM).

Similarly, Luigi Dall'Igna may have got a lot more from Lorenzo had it not been for Claudio Domenicalli sticking his oar in. 

Finally, perhaps Alberto Puig was the cleverest.  By signing Lorenzo he weakened Ducati - at that time Honda's greatest rival in the championship.  As we have seen, the Yamaha factory team has been in disarray for most of the season - shown up by the new boys at Petronas-SIC...

One of my indelible memories of Jorge was his 2007 race at Phillip Island on the Aprilia V-twin in the 250 Grand Prix.  He simply rode away from the field - at a second per lap.  After 19 laps he was 19 seconds ahead.  On lap 20 he eased off and won by 19.6 seconds from Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia).  A bloke named Andrea Dovizioso  (Honda) was third ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama (KTM) with a young Swiss rider (Thomas Luthi - Aprilia) fifth.  Julian Simon (Honda) was sixth, Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) seventh - 32.9 seconds behind Lorenzo.  Karel Abraham (Aprilia) was 13th and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) was 14th...

Total votes: 12

There's a scene in the DreamWorks movie Megamind in which the villain -- after defeating the hero -- feels a gaping existential void. Because he no longer has a rival, he finds he no longer has a purpose. That's the closing thing I can describe to the sadness I feel about Jorge Lorenzo's retirement announcement. When he was winning, I was never much of a fan. I didn't connect with his personality, I thought his "Lorenzo's Land" flag-planting antics were offputting, and I was critical of his inconsistency in mixed, scary conditions.

Then he went to Ducati and I strangely found myself wanting him to turn it around. I was sympathetic. I saw another side of him. I needed him to get to the front, not only for the sake of good racing, but because I wanted it for him. After he won a couple of races in 2018, I wasn't cheering for him anymore, but I was glad he was back -- for the racing.

The way he has handled himself during his time with Honda and his openness and candor are what finally turned me into a Lorenzo appreciator -- maybe even a fan. I have nothing but respect for him and wish him the very, very best. I wish he could have a full season so fans could give him a proper send-off, but I appreciate that Jorge is doing things his own way -- he always has.

Someone once told me the opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference. I can say the one thing I've never felt toward Jorge Lorenzo is indifference. Maybe that means I love the guy.

Thank you, Jorge. You'll be missed.

Total votes: 9

Molten metal flowing from one side of the bike to the other.

Brilliant David.

Total votes: 10

Well damn I honestly thought Cal would retire before Jorge but I completely think it was the right thing to do. I know these racers have access to far better surgeons then I could ever afford and so the amount of hobbling they'll experience at my age shouldn't be as bad, but you know there will still be some. It's also hard to appreciate/imagine when you're still young and fully fit, so for sure get out before it's too late in that regard.

As with many champion racers, the elite, the records breakers etc. I'm always in awe of their talent and abilities but not always a true fan in as much as rooting for them to win. I'm more attracted to the underdog, the occasional winners, ones who can seem unbeatable when the stars align but with obvious flaws as well... you know like me! ;) Such was the case with Jorge, never really rooted for him in the 250's but when he arrived in MGP, I started to appreciate him even more and at times started to become a fan only for him to eventually do or say something that would be a total turn off. 

Ultimately though, while it may be boring to watch on tv, seeing him ride the M1 at Laguna Seca & COTA was for me just utterly beautiful to watch. I could do it all day long! So Congratulations on your retirement Jorge, you deserve it and I hope you enjoy it. Glad you made it out in one piece and if you ever decide to race again in the future, with more then 2 wheels, I'll be sure to watch.

Total votes: 8