If there is one word to describe Jorge Lorenzo's renewal of his contract with Yamaha, it is surely inevitable. But inevitable or not, it certainly took a very long time to settle, as the official announcement that the Spaniard - and MotoGP champion-nearly-elect - had signed a new two-year deal with Yamaha only came today, in early October, just over a month before the 2010 season ends.
Despite not having anywhere else to go - nor even particularly wanting to go anywhere else - Lorenzo held out on a new contract for a long time. Paddock rumor suggested that Lorenzo was trying to squeeze the very last few Yen out of Yamaha's salary budget, but despite earning a reputed 8 million euro under the new deal, the devil was more likely in the detail of control over development and position in the team. With the formula reverting back to 1000cc in 2012, Lorenzo went for a two-year deal, allowing the Spaniard to help steer the development of Yamaha's new liter contender from a very early stage.
But Lorenzo's two-year deal sets up another repeat of this year's silly season for 2012. Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa have also signed two-year contracts with their respective employers Ducati and Honda, and all three will once again be out of contract at the same time. The difference in 2012 is that Valentino Rossi is less likely to be interested in moving after just two years at Ducati, and Pedrosa seems an ever firmer fixture in the arms of Honda with each passing year.
Below is the text of the press release officially announcing Lorenzo's new contract with Yamaha:
Yamaha Factory Racing Team Press Release
Saturday, 2nd October 2010
YAMAHA CONFIRMS LORENZO FOR TWO MORE YEARS
Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd is delighted to announce that it has reached an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo whereby the Spaniard will remain with the factory for the next two years.
23-year-old Lorenzo, who joined Yamaha in 2008, has won an impressive seven races so far this season and is on target to take his first premier-class crown. He currently leads the standings by 56 points with five rounds remaining.
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing Lin Jarvis said, "we are extremely happy that we have reached an agreement with Jorge to remain a Factory Yamaha rider for 2011 and 2012. Since he joined three years ago he has made great progress and has improved himself every year to go from fourth place and ‘best rookie' in 2008, to second place in 2009, to challenging for the MotoGP championship title in 2010. I am particularly pleased to finally get the agreement in place here in Japan because it will now enable Jorge to focus all of his efforts and concentration in the coming weeks to try to secure his first MotoGP class rider's title. Being only 23 years old I believe Jorge has a long career ahead of him and hopefully he can win many world titles with Yamaha.
"Jorge will be joined by Ben Spies in the Factory Team next year and with these two exceptionally talented hungry young riders we will start the 2011 season with the most exciting and competitive team in the paddock."
Lorenzo added, "my first choice was always to stay here with Yamaha and I am very glad that this will happen. I feel happy here; I have good people around me, a strong relationship with Yamaha and a great bike. I want to say thanks again to Lin Jarvis, who has always supported me. Now we are focused on winning the championship but I am already excited about next season. I know that Ben and I can do a great job for Yamaha and I want to thank them for their belief in me."