Ducati Chasing Lorenzo

After HRC President Tetsuo Suzuki announced that Honda had reached a "basic agreement" with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, and at the same time ruled out any role for current Fiat Yamaha star Jorge Lorenzo, it looked as if Lorenzo's options had run out. Now that his flirtation with Honda was over, Jorge Lorenzo would surely have no other option than to accept the rumored 3.5 million euro deal to re-sign with the Fiat Yamaha squad.

Not according to the authoritative Spanish motorcycling magazine Solo Moto. With Ducati's vulnerability painfully exposed by Casey Stoner's mystery illness, the Borgo Panigale factory is turning to Jorge Lorenzo for assistance. With executives from Philip Morris, Ducati's main sponsor, present at Brno, Solo Moto is reporting that the tobacco firm has supported Ducati in putting in a bid for Lorenzo's services. Money will not be an issue in this case, as both Marlboro and Ducati are aware that with none of the other Ducati riders looking able to get the Desmosedici on the box, the extensive investment by both companies is likely to go to waste.

As long as Casey Stoner's condition remains undiagnosed, and therefore the probability of his returning to racing remains unknown, both Philip Morris and Ducati face a difficult gamble. There is a very good chance that Stoner's condition will turn out to be relatively straightforward and easy to treat, and the Australian can make his scheduled return at Estoril. But the worst case scenario - however unlikely - is that the Australian is suffering a more serious condition, taking him out of circulation for the remainder of the season, and possibly even longer. 

That is not a chance the factory and Marlboro are keen on taking, and so according to Solo Moto, they have made signing Jorge Lorenzo their number one priority, and presented him with a suitable - and therefore probably extremely generous - financial offer. Of course, signing Lorenzo is itself not without risks. So many riders have failed to be reliably competitive on the Desmosedici - including a string of former world champions - that the possibility must exist that Lorenzo will similarly fail to manage the Ducati. But Lorenzo's history of success on difficult bikes - on both the Derbi, scoring regular podiums while others were nowhere, and on the Honda - has apparently convinced Ducati that Lorenzo could be the rider who could follow in Casey Stoner's footsteps.

This presents Jorge Lorenzo with an interesting proposition. His goal is to beat Valentino Rossi and become world champion, and establish his place in the pantheon of riders. If he stays at Yamaha and does it on the same bike as the 8-time world champion, there will be no doubt that he did it on ability alone. On the other hand, if he goes to Ducati and tames the Desmosedici, which is taking on a reputation of being difficult to ride of almost mythical proportions, he will also have established his ability as an exceptional talent, in the same way that Casey Stoner has. By beating Rossi on the Ducati, he may even gain greater fame and glory than by doing so on the same bike.

So far, reports have put Jorge Lorenzo as being close to announcing he has signed a new contract with Yamaha. But Casey Stoner's mystery illness may just have thrown the situation completely up in the air, by opening up new avenues that need to be explored. The Lorenzo situation is apparently not yet at an end.

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Comments

I love how after the HRC press conference it sounds everywhere like "poor boy Lorenzo" is "forced" to accept a 3,5 million deal with the best team on the grid...
God, I'd love to have this guy's problems really.

Total votes: 115

Yeah - I'm all choked up for the boy!!!

He has EVEYTHING going for him - can his ego not concede that Vale might just be worth more than he is ( at this point in time ) for good reasons.

Got to say that he is riding brilliantly though -great effort durirg Quali today.

Cheers

PS - this is my first post on this forum !!

Total votes: 114

,and this is getting a little insulting to Yamaha and I hope that they pull their deal off of the table soon. He is fast and talented but has not accomplished enough to be worth as much as he thinks. Jorge is on the best team for his success at this time, that is, his best chance for a title. IMO, there are 4 other riders (not fighting for the title) who would achieve similar results on his bike right now. I think that he should have signed the deal with Yamaha by now, show a little gratitude, win a championship and then act untouchable. 3.5 million for doing what you love,, eye on the prize Jorge. :)

Total votes: 112

I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. There are 3 other riders who would achieve similar results on that bike. One of them is in Australia, another of them has nearly concluded a contract with HRC and the third one is his team mate. There are 4 other riders who would be doing as well as Colin Edwards on that bike, which is best of the rest. Lorenzo is after leverage, he wants to ensure he gets equal treatment. But that's almost impossible when your team mate has 6 world championships and 101 victories...

Total votes: 111

of un proveable motogp fantasy, but hard to argue that Hayden, Melandri, Capirossi Pedrosa, or even DePunet wouldn't be contending for podiums on this years Fiat Yamaha,, which just an equal testimony to the (factory) bike as it is to the riders,, it seems THAT good to me.

I was really glad when I heard that Jorge was going to stay with Yamaha as it would have been down to rider talent to determine to new king, not a "better bike" thing.

at this point, I (and it sounds like others) are tired of this dragged out soap opera of greed,, which explains my jumping to the dark side. Boo for Ducati also for not sticking to their farm system and looking to other camps for the qucik fix instead of addressing the problem.

,,the greatest "dish best served cold" scenario would be a Hayden Lorenzo switch so we could see Hayden collect all of Jorge's podium trophies.. :)

Total votes: 104

"it seems THAT good to me." - personally I think that had Stoner not been so sick people might not be speaking of the M1 in such glowing terms - sure it's the pick of the field based on how all four of them are faring within the field, but it's really no quicker than the GP9 (albeit with Stoner aboard).

I'm hoping he stays at Yamaha, it's rare to get riders of relatively equal speed as team mates and I think there's still plenty of excitement to be seen as they battle each other.

But then again, what if:

- The rumours are true and Stoner and Ducati split citing irreconciliable differences
- Ducati sign Lorenzo (who they were chasing because they knew Stoner was out)
- Stoner goes to Yamaha...

Scuttlebutt I know, but MotoGP gets a bit weird sometimes.

Total votes: 135

I've been saying Hayden should be talking to Poncharal about the presumed opening at Tech 3, but now I remind that I've also suggested he should return to being Rossi's team mate.

At this point 3 years ago, there was a lot of talk that Hayden was being considered to follow Rossi to Yamaha because HRC was stalling contract renewal talks while he was leading the World Championship.  Being the loyal guy he is, he didn't want to leave the team he had been with and poison his relationships in the garage, and it would have driven a stake in the heart of Edwards (at least, so went the perceptions out here in the regular world). 

He should be offended that so many stories are floating around about how Suppo is shopping his seat and he should tell Brivio he'll gladly trade spots with Lorenzo.  As a bonus, when they race in the U.S., he can don a special Chrysler livery.

Total votes: 123

While I agree with almost everything in the post above by Rusty Bucket, and I would dearly love to see Nicky on a Tech 3 Yamaha, I can also understand why Suppo is still shopping for a top tier rider. Thus far, only one man can pull the proverbial sword from the stone, and now sword-puller Stoner is out sick, with an as yet unannounced or undetermined illness.

Nicky has yet to prove that he too, can extricate the sword from the stone.

FWIW, I am a big Nicky Hayden fan, but with his results to date, his grip on the sword is slipping.

Total votes: 116

I think Lorenzo would be nuts to permanently burn the Yamaha bridge, even for a ton of cash.

-jim

Total votes: 118

there's no chance anyone with a decent reputation will touch that ducati

bautista didn't want its stink on him and chose a suzuki over it

lorenzo would be crazy to go there and yamaha would be crazy to believe he'd seriously consider a move there....and yamaha aren't crazy

he can either sign for what they're offerring or let his ego ruin his career

Total votes: 106

Short of crippling himself, isn't it possible that Lorenzo can become rich with Ducati, and then finish his career with another factory (if he isn't successful at Ducati)? Please note that I hope Jorge remains with Yamaha.

Total votes: 122

Its sad the Motogp guys get paid so little.
NFL (ONE OF THE WORST GAMES IN THE WORLD) has the most over paid and lazy players in almost all sports in the world some players earn more then then Motogp grid.
Tour de France guys get more than Motogp riders
The 18th rank Nascar driver gets more money than Lorenzo

And if sports men only played for the love then David Deckham would not have gone to the USA to play. Maybe Jorge is the David Beckham of motogp and will go to Ducati for the $$$.

Total votes: 114

...has an organization behind it with massive sponsorship. While it's unfortunate, those are the realities.

And heck, Herve Poncharal (head of IRTA) says the riders are overpaid. Go figure....

-jim

Total votes: 124

HP wants socialist racing. All the gimping of motoGP has done nothing to 'improve' it. Closed motors is a bit of a joke.

They could give them all 50cc scooters out of the box and it would still produce 1 winner per race. I'd like it if they would just step out of the way and let the teams produce with what they dare to spend (they do anyway no matter the rules). Let them test as much as they want to. Let nature take it's course instead of all this backwards 'cost reduction' foobar.

HP is worried about riders flying business class. Give me a break. Maybe he should go run a team in DMG.

I don't think all the bagging on ducati is fair. Does not (did not?) casey stoner win races and set fastest times on it like clockwork? The bike is proven. This issue is the riders obviously.

Nicky is a solid guy, but even when he had the best bike on the grid by far, the honda 990, he wasn't exactly winning races every week.

Loris got one win on the 800 ducati in a freak race. He's certainly not doing any better on the GSV.

Sure, it killed Marco and now he's going faster on the kawi.

I think if you stuck Lorenzo on the ducati he would spank everyone and I think Alvaro was nuts to go to the blue team... a bike NO ONE wins on.

Total votes: 114

If Lorenzo goes to Ducati AND is able to get to competitive on the bike AND he is able to influence (or at least get everyone in the world to believe it was his influence) the development of the bike to a degree that the Satellite Ducatis are beating Tech3, Lorenzo will have his own legend.

Total votes: 123

One one level, Jorge might make the same kind of decision that Ducati did when they went to Bridgestone. High risk-reward but by deliberately choosing something differennt to your main competitor you open up the possibility oof finding an edge that they can't use.

But I think it would fail because of Jorge's riding style and approach. I think Ducatis reward riders who can take the bike by the scruff of the neck and dominate it, ignoring that it's trying to kill you. I don't think this is Jorge's approach. He's more of the Rossi school of optimising the bike and your own skill to be just plain better than everyone else. Apart from when he crashes (and he seems to be tuning that out of himself) Jorge is looking smoother and to be working less hard as he gets faster. This might well get him closer to the front than the other Ducati riders but will not get him to Stoner's levels on that bike.

So don't do it, Jorge. We want you to go head to head with Rossi on equal machinery and do what Biaggi, Gibernau and others failed to do. And to bring out the fire in Rossi in the process.

Total votes: 103

Nice to see you around, Julian! I've been Mark N.'ed to death in my neck of the woods. ;)

-jim

Total votes: 114

Lorenzo has plenty of time to build his legacy. He's young. I doubt Rossi will stay in MotoGP much longer. He should stay and learn from the master. His best chance to beat Rossi will be on machinery that Rossi helps to develop.

Rossi has accomplished so much. At some point his going to loose motivation and require new challenges. I'd love to see him move to yet another manufacturer and bring their bikes up to speed. However, it's more likely he'll leave MotoGP.

As for Nicky.. I'm very disappointed. The switch to 800cc has been horrible for him. I believe his riding style benefits from a stronger engine. He was at least competitive on the 990cc. Personally, I think he should switch to WSBK and Spies should come to MotoGP.

If Lorenzo leaves Yamaha they should sign Spies.

Total votes: 120