Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why did Lorenzo do it?

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Why did Lorenzo do it?

Why Rossi’s failure on the Ducati could be Lorenzo’s biggest reason for going there

Anyone who tells you they know why Jorge Lorenzo quit the manufacturer that’s won five of the past 10 MotoGP titles for a brand that hasn’t got close to winning the championship for the past eight years, is making it up.

But let’s take a look at the possible reasons behind the defection.

Most pro riders do what they do for three main reasons: joy, ego and money. Usually, money comes last in the list, if only because the cash follows the fulfillment of the other two factors.

This is just my best guess, because only Jorge Lorenzo knows for sure, but I believe his prime motive in making the switch is to secure himself a place in the roped-off VIP area of motorcycle racing’s pantheon. So far, in seven decades of Grand Prix racing, only five riders have won premier-class world titles on different makes of machinery: Geoff Duke (Norton and Gilera), Giacomo Agostini (MV Agusta and Yamaha), Eddie Lawson (Yamaha and Honda), Valentino Rossi (Honda and Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Ducati and Honda).

If Lorenzo can join that elite, there will never any be doubt that he is one of the all-time greats. To be mentioned in the same breath as Duke, Lawson and the rest is all it takes, forever and ever and ever.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Total votes: 107
Total votes: 104

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Comments

Every time I see this speculation about JLo wanting to succeed on the Duc to prove that he is capable of doing something even Rossi couldn't, it's invariably followed with, "But today's Duc is nothing like Rossi's, it's so much better." It makes me wonder why people even bother to make this conjecture.

Surely JLo knows that it's a completely different bike. He probably knows that much better than most. If he does win on the Duc and dares to say anything to the effect of, "I could win on the Duc and Rossi couldn't!" surely he must know EVERYONE is going to respond with, "Puuuuhlllllleeeeeeeze! That's not even in the ballpark, the zip code, even the same galaxy of an equal comparison. Give us a break." Given that, I just can't imagine one of JLo's motivations is to one-up Rossi when he has to realize it will just blow up in his face.

My question is: why do I keep reading that EVERYWHERE?

Total votes: 153

Sounds like typical Jorge to me, his PR regularly blows up in his face. Take "I want to sign a contract before the start of the first race" as a perfect example. When he didn't that then lead to him whining every time someone asked him about contracts and even saying "why are you asking me about contracts so early in the season?" Because you stated you wanted to sign so early dumbass!

And then he wonders why no one likes him.

Total votes: 160

While I am not a fan of any particular rider, I think many people underestimate the likability of the underdog. Which is pretty much anyone taking the fight to Rossi. He has a big following, no doubt.

Total votes: 152

I don't think Lorenzo gives a rat's ass about the crowds that don't like him. He's embraced the role of the villain a long time ago. He just wants to see them more angry ;)

Total votes: 122

ABR

Total votes: 117

Who are these guys then? JL has fans and people that love his antics and root for him to win.

Total votes: 134

Qatar 2017 ducatis next win if it doesn't some how happen this year. Pencil it in. Its come close the last two seasons this man is the difference. if it does happen this year pencil him in for that/those races too. I can t see the reason for all the hate for this guy but then again I don't not like any rider to be honest.

Total votes: 90

Because it's easy.

Total votes: 103

Stoner put the 2010 Duc on the podium 9 times in 2010, including 3 wins and two seconds - three wins and one second, in the last 6 races of the season. Five non-finishing races left him in 4th place in the WC - one behind Rossi, who was, if I recall correctly, riding the other bike for the team that won the WC that year.

In two years, with everything available being thrown at the Ducati at Rossi's insistence, he managed exactly 3 podium finishes -an average of 1.5 podiums per year - no wins, best WC finish two places lower than Stoner's worst WC finishes in his total career at Ducati. Average WC position at Ducati: 6.5.

Stoner, in four years at Ducati,  managed to be on the podium 42 times: 10.2 podiums/year. Average WC finish at Ducati: 2.75

Lorenzo doesn't have to be especially fabulous on the Duc to be well ahead of Rossi's record. He just needs to have a talent somewhat close to his ambition..

Total votes: 146

I think it's so cute when people try to show how Stoner is in some way superior to Rossi by cherry picking some stats. For instance, in 2010 you mention how Stoner missed some races (unforced errors, mostly), but somehow "forgot" to mention that Rossi had a compound fracture to his leg and missed 4 races that year.

Or while mentioning that Stoner averaged 10.2 podiums per year at Ducati, it's "overlooked" that over Rossi's 20 year career he averaged 11.6 podiums per year. In Stoner's 12 years, he managed only 7.4 per year. Doh!

Or Stoner having a WC finish avg of 2.75 at Duc. But over Stoner's whole premier class it was 3.2. Rossi's avg premier class WC finish is ... 2.375 Doh! (If we compare their entire careers it gets much, much uglier).

Aside from being generally dishonest, it's also just kind of silly to cherry pick some stats to make a certain point (nice dig with the "talent / amibtion" comment too, btw) when the reality is the exact opposite.

 

Total votes: 154

The important part about Stoner's last year on the Ducati is that it was going downhill overall. You could say he benefitted from an injured Rossi and a pretty depleted field of quality competition as far as the front goes that also flattered the Ducati at that point. 

If Stoner was happy with that bike he would of stayed, right? His and his teams Ducati experience allowed him to grab those decent results in that last year and weren't they pretty loudly turning that bike upside down to grab those wins at the tail of end of the season. There really isn't much debate about the state of Ducati from the end of 2009 until Gigi took over so it's strange that people are discussing it again. 

Total votes: 116

The year of the severe leg break at Mugello?  Not really the best time to compare WC standings but don't let that get in the way. ;-)

Total votes: 100

Like minderaser, I cannot understand the comparisons being drawn. The suggestion that Rossi had amazing balls whereas the Duc is a safe choice for Lorenzo just doesn't stack up. Consider - the guy Rossi replaced had grabbed 3 wins & a 2nd (+ 2 DNFs :-( ) in the last races of the season. Best guess at the time was that Rossi was going to a winning bike. (It didn't work out that way & that wasn't all Rossi's fault but that's not the point.)

In contrast, the Ducati today looks promising but it hasn't got the results - the last win was the ones just mentioned from before Rossi's time on the bike.

We shall see...

Total votes: 122

The suggestion that Rossi had amazing balls

It's more than a suggestion, it's a fact. When Rossi made the swith to Yamaha everyone -- and I mean EVERYONE, including Yamaha -- thought he was nuts. Pretty ballsy.

Best guess at the time was that Rossi was going to a winning bike.

I would love to see a citation for that because I remember the general (perhaps even overwhelming) consensus being the exact opposite.

I did a minor* amount of searching, and came across this very astute oberservation regarding the Rossi/Ducati situation: "So it appears we can safely rule out the problem being the rider. And if it isn't the rider, the problem must lie in the bike." Or this gem: "Add reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo to the list of people who think Valentino Rossi hasn't lost his ability to ride a Grand Prix motorcycle during his two lost seasons at Ducati. Lorenzo thinks the problem for Rossi in 2011-12 was simple - a tricky Desmosedici bike." Wow! Lorenzo of all people!

So, if anyone really was saying the 2011-2012 Duc was a winning bike, I'd really like to see it.

*note: I was not just searching for people slagging that era Duc, I was just searching for anything people were saying about it at the time.

Total votes: 142

>>Best guess at the time was that Rossi was going to a winning bike.

>>I would love to see a citation for that because I remember the general (perhaps even overwhelming) consensus being the exact opposite.

That would be Rossi's best guess as when he was asked before the move about the potential of the Duc he replied  "It is very difficult to understand the level of the Ducati because Stoner doesn't push at 100 per cent."  JB didn't seem to have a high opinion of the Duc's setup (crew capabilities) either.  Rossi made the switch because he thought 'if Stoner can do that I should be able to do at least as well.'  Both thought they were going to a situation where they would shine.

After his Ducati stint he was man enough to admit it and when asked why he couldn't win on the Ducati he said:  “Casey rode this bike in a special way,” Rossi answered every time. “I cannot ride this bike like that.”

All of your links were published well after Rossi moved and failed to have any success so don't really support your point.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

Chris

Total votes: 81

You even quoted yourself making this statement:

Best guess at the time was that Rossi was going to a winning bike.

CLEARLY the inference was that many/most/multiple people thought the Ducati was a winning bike (but in reality NOBODY did). Your desperate backpedal is nonsense: "That would be Rossi's best guess ..." So, are we now to believe that you were talking about Rossi talking about himself in the third person?

At least I have some citations, even if you want to deride them by saying they are "only" hindsight. Where are the citations I asked for of ANYONE saying the Duc was a winning bike at the time?

"After his Ducati stint he was man enough to admit it ..."

Maybe you should follow his example. NOBODY thought the Duc was a winning bike. You should admit it.

Total votes: 103

Maybe you should read who posted what before you attack people.  Sort of takes the piss right out of your post.

Chris

Total votes: 87

He is reuniting with Gigi who helped him when he was in 250cc and won his championships in that classification. This should be a good pairing next year.

Total votes: 108

I don't blame Jorge in the slightest!

When he wins (not IF!) he'll join an elite group of riders in the MotoGP/500 class to win races on more than one brand, and that's no mean achievement, even today!

Of course he'll tell the world he acheived something that Rossi never managed to do -- and of course the majority of the public will respond with the "No similarity" response!

It's a given!

Regardless of what the public may think I'm sure he'll sleep quite well on a VERY large pile of Ducati's money! wink

Total votes: 123

Because history books aren't filled with nuance. It a generation or two the fact that it was a very different Ducati bike will be mostly forgotten. 

Total votes: 149

And in a generation or two, JL may also be largely forgotten - despite being as good as he is - but I doubt the same will be true of VR.

Total votes: 131

Lorenzo may win for the Manfucaturer that Rossi couldn't win with but certainly not the same bike. The difference is Rossi left Honda when people said it was the only bike capable of winning to go the supposed disaster of Yamaha. The Ducati is no longer a trainwreck. I do feel bad about one of the Andreas being pushed out after putting in all the hard work. Bot are clearly capable of winning. 

I think Vin to Yamaha is most likely going to happen, Its almost as if he's already agreed to tow rossi around in qualifying to secure a seat. Thats my conspiracy theory. I really cant see them signing Pedrosa, if anything Suzuki should try to scoop him up. 

Total votes: 113

You know, I like them both, they're clearly immensely talented riders, but I just can't garner much sympathy for either Andrea. Specifically, I just don't think the case is particularly strong that they're both capable of winning races. Dovi's only pulled it off once in eight seasons--under bizarre half wet conditions that saw Lorenzo and Rossi both crash, yet Rossi still finished fifth--and Iannone has yet to show that he has the discipline to maintain bleeding edge performance over race distance. As he nears the front, the odds of his demonstrating some catastrophic lapse in judgment approach 100%. 

They appear on the podium often enough that it's obvious that their gap to the top riders is small, but thus far, at least one of four riders always crosses the line ahead of them. It just seems kind of inevitable that one of them was going to have to make way for an Alien at some point. 

Total votes: 123

This deal has nothing to do with Rossi at his time with Ducati.  Different bike, different organization, different time, and most importantly a different person in charge of Corse and designing the Desmosedici.  This is Gigi and money.  Jorge gets the most money per year any rider has ever received from a mfr. in history, and he is back working with Gigi.  If it has anything to do with Rossi, it's in Jorge's head.  I think the shoe is on the other foot at Yamaha.  Rossi has slowly been getting the #1 development lead back since he's been back as the factory listens to him more about parts and direction.  Ramon Forcada even admitting that Jorge is not a development rider.  Perhaps Rossi will be even more competitive now that they'll be building the bike around him and not split betwen himself and Lorenzo.

This is a good decision for Lorenzo and Ducati.  Lorenzo is instantly the #1 rider at the new factory.  No "sharing" between another rider.  He will be the clear #1.  He gets the money, the biggest contract ever, as bragging rights.  And he goes back to working with Gigi and they have a great history together.  Gigi has been trying to get Lorenzo since his first day on the job with Ducati.

Hopefully the other riders sign really soon now so we can get off the drama. All this stuff is for 2017 and we are just starting the 2016 season.

Total votes: 161

Nailed it.

Total votes: 128

I agree and with Rossi's influence growing even more in Yamaha, the environment for Lorenzo will become more and more unfavorable. Why stick there when you have a chance to get a good machine and a lot of money to boot? 

Total votes: 107

"Ramon Forcada even admitting that Jorge is not a development rider" Really? I have my doubts on your interpratation. May you please provide a reference I think it woud provide an interesting read/watch.

Total votes: 129

Well, its not like he is going to be on a better all round package in 2017 which the M1 is currently.

A change is as good as a holiday and in Lorenzo's case a total divorce from Rossi/ Jarvis and Co. is the smartest move he has done since his failure to accept #46 back into the Yamaha garage back then.

How it all pans out for the remainder of the season remains to be seen.

Supertallented #25 to Yamaha? I guess Rossi would opt for #29 as a tail gunner.

It all goes about who has the most clout within transverse 4 Yamaha M1 right now and right now the Doctor holds the cards.

 

Total votes: 129

Some big questions remain about who will go with JLo from Yamaha to Ducati. Forcada and Wilko are both big influences on JLo... 

Total votes: 120

& having a test rider at his (or even better than his) level that you get on with is not a bad position to be in either.

Total votes: 104

Really good piece from MO. Much to chew on.

Gigi's cunning plan moves to final phase. Get the bike even close to good enough to lure Jorge and go for a title, I can't wait. 

Because really was there any other alien who was viable? Rossi no chance. The Marquez gang IS Repsol Honda. Pedrosa is just outside that top three IMO, not by much but enough to make Mack more desireable but I don't think Mack was on the radar when said cunning plan was hatched.

I reckon he's on a fortune. Really, what would Ducati have done if he'd said no?

Total votes: 134

Another machination, that brick wall, that worked well for him, didn't it!

Once Jorge's gone from Yamaha they don't have to pay (pretend) nice any more.  And there will be some real walls between the pit garages.  And less polite smiling at press conferences, I'll warrant.

Lert's be clear, of all the great antipathies in the sport in recent years, there is one common thread.  Go work it out.  It ain't Jorge.

All the armchair critics and Monday-night quarterbacks in the world aren't going to change next year's outcomes one whit.  Does that risk this season becoming something of an anti-climax, whatever happens, if we are all focused on 2017?

Hopefully the upcoming race will focus attention back on the here and now, rather than speculation on 2017.

Total votes: 134

Really think about why Rossi is the common thread. There will always be awkward moments, falling outs and general drama amongst the winners and Rossi is the one winner who hasn't gone away for SIXTEEN years. 

Was anybody having disagreements with Rossi in 2011, 2012 and 2013? All the reasoning you need is right there. 

Total votes: 133

The real question is why Jorge, and not Rossi?

Because both Ducati and Lorenzo believe that Lorenzo can win on the Ducati.

Because both Ducati and Rossi do not believe that Rossi can win on the Ducati.

All of the different bike, different company, different eras fall completely apart.  If things are really so different now, why not give Rossi a second chance?  Of from Rossi's point of view, why not give Ducati a second chance?

Rossi talks about balls, but he is afraid of falling flat on his face again.  It would still be the Italian Dream Team, but Ducati doesn't want the goat, the marketing machine, the superhero of all ages.  They want a winner.  Not a former winner.

All of the arguments explaining why Rossi is such a good deal for Yamaha would apply to Ducati.  EXCEPT Ducati wants to win the championship.

Nobody was knocking on Rossi's door.  Not KTM, not Aprilia, not Suzuki, not Honda, and especially not Ducati.

No doubt that Rossi is content to stay with Yamaha, but he really didn't have a lot of other options.

Total votes: 210

Rossi has burned the Ducati bridge, just like he burned the Honda bridge 12 years ago.  Suzuki, KTM, and Aprilia can't afford him.  Rossi will continue to earn more from Yamaha PR after he's retired than those factories can hope to offer him to actually race their bike.  Rossi is embedded in Yamaha racing now, and you'll still see him hanging around the Yamaha garage in twenty years.  Rossi is worth a lot to Yamaha, but he's not worth what he costs to other factories

Total votes: 130

David has pointed this out already, but the connections between Rossi and Yamaha are much deeper today than they were when Rossi last left for Ducati. Amongst other agreements, Rossi's VR46 Racing Apparel produces all of the officially licensed Yamaha Racing apparel and Yamaha supplies all of the bikes for Rossi's rider development program at his ranch. All of the signs suggest that Rossi is lining himself to be a Yamaha ambassador (and paycheck recipient) long after he retires from professional racing. 

You're still right that no one was trying to woo him away, but all the signs suggest that Rossi himself took the idea of leaving Yamaha off the table some time ago. 

Total votes: 135

I think Jorge had a "Casey Stoner moment" when he too, realized that he had been working for the wrong people.  It's a rude awakening when you realize that you aren't really appreciated.  

Been there, done that myself. (For a lot less money.)

Total votes: 120

And i am sure Rossi has aspirations of being owner/manager or sponsor of the Yamaha works team when he retires. He has dipped his toe in the water with Moto3 but you need to be in MotoGP to be in the big league.

Plus with JL99 gone to Ducati in 2017, Rossi must be thinking JL will be struggling getting used to the Ducati which means all he has to worry about in terms of title contenders is MM93.

I hope Yamaha choose a rider for the future like Vinales and not a solid number 2 like Pedrosa who will not push Rossi. Interesting to see how the team dynamics changes with the announcement.

Total votes: 129

Yamaha is also paying for the bikes at Edward's Texas bootcamp. The just know that a handful of bikes is a drop in a bucket compared to their marketing budget, and both riders are still under contract with Yamaha.

Total votes: 124

....most comments here talk about Rossi as if he were in his prime.... c'mon, we all know he has at best a couple of seasons in him or maybe not even that. So no Ducati would not ask him for many reasons but mainly because of his age. The argument that he is scared to move somewhere else is laughable why would he knowing that he might retire at the end of this season. Stop comparing him with the other guys. One more thing: Ducati approached Marquez too. They got Lorenzo but if MM had said yes.....

Total votes: 111

It does seem obvious to most of us that Rossi is not in his prime.  In actual fact, he is past his sell-by date, and that is why nobody else is buying.  If you prefer "coginzant that he would fall flat on his face" to "scared he would fall flat on his face" at Ducati, I'm good with that.

Total votes: 132

The majority of scribes and punters are now predicting Vinales to Yamaha. (Which would appear to work, for all concerned... except)!!!!

I'm sure I read it here... Is there a clause in Vinales contract with Suzuki that he is bound to stay, if he manages to podium the GSX-RR this season?

Can anyone confirm or explain the implications of that contract clause? Could almost be an article in itself at this stage of the game... particularly given Mavericks dedication to past teams in Moto 3 and his recent decision to be his own manager. What's going on there?

Maverick by name. Maverick by nature?

 

Total votes: 115

He wanted to leave Yamaha (clearly or he would have signed) - where else to go?

HRC with MM? Risky
Suzuki - not quite there yet

Ducati - has the speed, starting be be turned round, seems to work ok in Michelins, right people in charge - seems like it was a good option at just the right time. ie Logical.

Doesn't make a very good blog post though........

I think the reason's for leaving Yamaha are a more interesting story than joining Ducati.

 

 

Total votes: 121

You left out - 'Awesome test rider who can expose the flaws in the bike before it gets to the factory riders'.

Otherwise, a pretty good summation of the situation.

Total votes: 102

Ducati have an embarrassment of riches - a Ducati World Champion who doesnt want to race but will happily ride round the track all day to test the bike and JL the metronome! I hope JL can win races and championships for Ducati. 

You never know Jorge may make a return to Yamaha in 2019 when Rossi will have retired and he will still only be 30 years old. 

Cant see Marquez going anywhere - 2016 bike looks better than the previous model and MM may be back to his best!

Total votes: 102

Has/will Stoner spend enough time on the Ducati to make much difference?

(and that is ignoring any discussion on differences in their technique and hence differences in bike requirements)

Total votes: 118

Even if we assume that JLo don´t get along with VR, I have serious doubts to think that was the reason why he left Yamaha and went to Duc. There are 2 main reasons why he leaves:

1. He was very disappointed at Yamaha as they was more concerned in VR:s fight with Marquez than their celebration of JLo being World Champion.

2. If he didn´t believe that Duc was a machine capable of winning more titles, he would never had made the switch.

Revenge, doing something that VR wasn´t capable of, bad companionship with VR, etc.etc. was never any big issue in his decision. He believes he is the better driver, so why should he bother? Last time they were "enemies" in 2010, he won the title.

So, fact is that his was disappointed with the Yamaha team's behaviour, and he believes that he is capable to win titles on the Duc.

Total votes: 123

Will people compare it to when Rossi went to Ducati?  Yes, which makes no sense since the bike and management are very different. Done, though people will still rant about it.

Is Jorge a good developement rider?  Absolutely.  But he developes the bike for HIS style which is quite different from everyone else, just like Stoner who got the same reputation, unjustly.

Did he do it for the money? Prestige? He loves red? It's obviously a combination of ego, conflict with Rossi, proving his worth, etc.  Not one thing, but the key is that it doesn't matter what motivated him at this point, that will only be interesting when his bio come out (title "Small Man, Big Ego",  sorry, I just had to).

 

The real questions:

Can Jorge adapt to the Ducati? Can the Ducati be set up for Jorge? (as both things need to happen)

If Yamaha and Honda catch up with their power delivery, will the Ducati ANY advantage next year?

 

Total votes: 117

Ask yourself just one question - if Ducati and Yamaha offered Jorge the same contract with the same provisions would he got to Ducati? The answer is an obvious NO. So yes it's about the money and no I don't blame him. These riders have a limited self life that could come to an end any given day they throw a leg over the bike. They need to capitalize on their earning potential as much as possible. The notion that he's making this move because of what Rossi didn't do or Jorge's legacy or whatever is all in the head of writers and fans. Did the way Yamaha handle the Rossi/Marquez drama play a part in pissing Jorge off? Maybe. Did the competitiveness of the current Ducati bike play a part? Surely. But again if Ducati - a manufacture who has won a grand total of one champions and hasn't won a race in multiple years - didn't back a truck load of money up to the table Jorge wouldn't be making the switch. End of story. 

Total votes: 110

Still a Lorenzo fan though he should have remained a Spanish gentleman after the Rossi break down instead of shoving his foot in an unappropiate place. His move I take with some trepidation but a great, great interest story for '17 and '16 to boot! And really, the human interest drama of MotoGP is what keeps my interest up, not the actual racing in which WSBK is superior IMO.

Total votes: 99

Ask yourself just one question - if Ducati and Yamaha offered Jorge the same contract with the same provisions would he got to Ducati? The answer is an obvious NO. So yes it's about the money and no I don't blame him. These riders have a limited self life that could come to an end any given day they throw a leg over the bike. They need to capitalize on their earning potential as much as possible. The notion that he's making this move because of what Rossi didn't do or Jorge's legacy or whatever is all in the head of writers and fans. Did the way Yamaha handle the Rossi/Marquez drama play a part in pissing Jorge off? Maybe. Did the competitiveness of the current Ducati bike play a part? Surely. But again if Ducati - a manufacture who has won a grand total of one champions and hasn't won a race in multiple years - didn't back a truck load of money up to the table Jorge wouldn't be making the switch. End of story. 

Total votes: 136

The details are no doubt complicated, but the answer can be found in two facts and is a no-brainer.  If I was Lorenzo, I'd have signed with Ducati before the ink was dry on the contract.  I actually don't know why it took him so long.  First, money (Ducati / Marlboro can pay Lorenzo probably a lot more and he's earned it for sure).  Second, ego.  An added philip is that Audi owns Ducati, and as I've said before on this forum...Audi knows how to go racing.

Lorenzo beat Rossi 10 - 8 last year, but had to ride at a probably unsustainable level to do so - winning box-to-wire in MotoGP is very hard, and psychologically draining - and even with all of that if Rossi hadn't screwed up qualifying at Le Mans or possibly that weird wet / dry race - even that, combined with Marquez's obvious help and a penalty that was at best disputable, was barely enough (granted he had a few incidents of his own, although they seem to have been extremely self-inflicted).

You're world champion, you're 28 years old at the absolute peak of your powers - and it takes maybe even more than your own maximum effort to beat a 37 year old on the decline, who also happens to be immensely popular!  That sucks!  Ducati is a small risk, but if he doesn't do well - Stoner only really had two great seasons there (07 and 08), Rossi had zero - he's in fairly good company.  And after two years Rossi really will be gone from Yamaha and he can return in style.  If he does do well - he's the "man".

Lorenzo seems to be kind of awkward (occasionally a little more than petulant) and will never be as popular as his talent, but he's awfully fast and I'd be surprised if he's not a top-3 rider or even champion next year.

Total votes: 111

When Lorenzo first came to the yamaha factory team , he  took on the roll as Rossis sidekick by his own actions . The copy of Rosssis leathers (except red accents instead of yellow , but you get the idea) doing something outragious after a win  ect ect . But when push came to shove Rossi was faster , more tachtical , more knolagable. Just a Notch better as rider all around . NOW  as time has taken its toll Lorenzo fels hE is faster  and at least Rossis equal in all other areas. BUT Rossi is still Rossi so the ONLY way to get out of Rossis shadow is to be the Number 1 man on a opposing  factory team . It is fairly self evident

 

Total votes: 123

I don't think the Ducati is all that.

Yet.

It is close, but put Jorge or Marc on that thing today and I bet it is not on the top step, if Marc or Jorge are on their factory bikes against them.

Marc on the Honda against Jorge on the Ducati, today, Marc wins. Marc on the Duc, Jorge on the Yamaha today. Jorge wins.

By next season that Duc, may be much closer to Yamaha. Though that is a view from a very long distance.

I think Jorge is leaving to get out from under the shadow of Rossi. When he won his championships who was the story? Rossi. That has just got to grate on him. So, he goes and wins a championship on the Ducati and he will have done something Rossi failed to do. But, the fun part is that even then there will be that talk that because Rossi woke Ducati up to needing to change, that will be the basis of what allowed Jorge to win on the red bike.

Too funny. Though Jorge will be laughing all the way to the bank. I like how smooth and exact he is and I want to see if that works on that Ducati. If it does, it is going to be stunning to watch. Something that should tie Marquez in knots for a while. SHould be good racing. And this silly season is interesting and fun too.

Total votes: 147

is how much progress can ducati make with Lorenzo and Stoner working together?  My guess - a lot.  Lorenzo is not going to be frightened to listen to Stoner and apart from the respect they had for each other when they were racing they both have no great love of Rossi.

Couln't give a rats about what VR did or didn't achieve on the duc, he said he couldn't ride it and ducati didn't really have a way of building a bike that could be ridden - it's in the past.

I don't think it is going to be an easy choice for Duc as to who is the second rider. They don't need one to challenge/push Jorge, like all aliens he is quite capable of doing that himself.  What they especially don't need is a rider who disengages their brain.  So I'm guessing their second signing is going to be Dani Pedrosa surpriselaugh

Total votes: 128

Always interesting speculating about motives. Fact is that it is good for the sport since it attracts media attention and how it will turn out is interesting for all.

For me the biggest question is: will the Duc suit the smooth semi agrressive fast leanangle riding style of Jorge? If I look at the Ducati for years (even today) it seems like all riders more of less have to adjust bodyposition to the requirements of the bike. No particulair rider style looks standing out if riding a Ducati MotoGP, while on the Honda and Yamaha all differences in bodyposition seems supported. Like Rossi looked quite stiff and flat on the Ducati MotoGP some years ago.

Maybe Jorge had made a good decision. Who haves insight information concerning budget or development of Yamaha for the years coming? The Yamaha is a refined product of 6 years evolution. Will refinement be enough for 2017? Obviously the new 2016 model which is quite different in weightdistribution is not appreciated since both riders choose the conventional bike for 2016

General impression is that the Yamaha is the sweetest and most balanced bike of the grid. But some years ago most of us were convinced that Honda had the perfect package. This turned out to be a misconception. I think it is still all in the details and the match between riderstyle and bike.

I think any comparance to the switch of Melandri, Rossi, Carl, Dovisioso to Ducati is interesting but meaningless. It is a different Ducati we look at (organisationwise and bikewise)

I think Rossi was unlucky to sign for Ducati at a time that Ducati was sold to Volkswagen Group. I can imagine that at that time the whole organsiation was a kind of frozen and the racing department set on a fixed budget. Maybe the signing of Rossi kind of secured the existence of a racedepartment during the deal, giving it a value.

I think from the perspective of Jorge something has changed. Two years ago he was obviously the nr1 in the Yamaha camp. Rossi kind of sneaked back onboard again, admitting he did not know if he would be fast enough, which gave enough room to see him as rider nr 2 in the team. Right now, while Jorge became WC, Yamaha choose to treat them similar. In the meanwhile Rossi became the who's name was tightly bound to Yamaha again for live. My impression:

Yahama-Rossi: Family: contract for life and biggest ambassadeur

Yamaha-Jorg: Contract as long as you win!

If you think you are the best rider of all, would you want to be in a team where you never be able to join the family as your teammate does?

Last thing I wonder is what will happen with Wilco Zeelenberg. I think he is one of the persons behind Jorge that brought focus on developing his strong points and that he is a big factor in Jorge's success. And part of the Yamaha family?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total votes: 119

I used to think that your site contained a healthy exchange of thoughts opinions and ideas. However, yesterday when i ggested that Duc vs Yam would sell more tickets for Dorna I couldn't get that posted. Perhaps if as a reader I felt that my thoughts would be heard I would support your site. In years past you have pulled my comments regarding Lorenzo and I guess if comments don't align with your opinion they just don't get posted. Don't let your own ego drag down your business. 

Total votes: 99

Wednesday was a travel day, and I had a lot of magazine work to do. That means a lot of comments had to wait before being approved. 

I hope people will bear with me. I strongly believe the approval system helps keep the comments section a much more agreeable place (only a few percent of comments are not approved), but it does mean that those who are not site supporters (their comments do not need my approval before being published) have to have a bit of patience. Especially on days that I am traveling. 

I am truly sorry for the inconvenience, but I strongly believe the site is much better for this system.

Total votes: 95

It's the same reason Lorenzo is going to Ducati and the same real reason Rossi went to Yamaha, whether he knew it back then or not, though I'm sure Rossi figured it out when he and Burgess jumped to Ducati. 

The league pulls the strings. When Lebron went to Miami, everyone knew the NBA was going to keep him in a top-10 metropolis in the Eastern or Western time zone.

Dorna isn't particularly bright, but they are smart enough to copy other leagues. The interesting question is whether Lorenzo is in on the deal, or whether he really thinks Yamaha are giving him the Honda treatment. 

 

Total votes: 116