Jorge Lorenzo Signs With Repsol Honda For Two Seasons

In a shock move which emerged in the Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday, Jorge Lorenzo is to partner Marc Marquez in the Repsol Honda team for the next two seasons. As he had confirmed after his victory at Mugello on Sunday, Lorenzo is to leave Ducati at the end of this year and join his third manufacturer in four seasons.

The news came completely out of left field, with all of the talk at Mugello being that Lorenzo would be racing a Yamaha in a team organized by the Sepang International Circuit with financial backing from Malaysian state oil corporation Petronas. But that proved to be a smokescreen, with Lorenzo already having signed a contract to race with Repsol Honda two weeks previously.

There will be much more on the background of this in a story to be posted later today. Here is the very short press release issued by HRC announcing Lorenzo's signing:


HRC sign Jorge Lorenzo

Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to announce the signing of three-times MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Spanish rider will join the Repsol Honda Team for the next two years.

From 2019, Lorenzo will become teammate to four-times MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez: two great champions with great talent and high hopes that will make a stronger team and contribute to the development of HRC.

Source: 

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Comments

Amazing coup by Lorenzo's manager. Some people were making ludicrous remarks about him having to go to WSBK even... I think this will be great.

Total votes: 49

Seriously.... WHAT. Is your April Fools article two months late?? How does he think that bike will suit him much better than the Ducati? What about the Petronas satellite Yamaha team rumors? He still thinks he's too good for a satellite ride?

edit: read the article you linked. Apparently that was all a ruse. Also, the subheadline states that Ducati has gone with Petrucci. Is that official?

Total votes: 84

I never even considered the possibility. lotsofchops: Petrux has been confirmed alongside Dovi. GPOne.com, cheers.

Total votes: 44

I imagine he wants to prove to himself and others, that he can beat MM on the same bike. He doesn't need money, he needs challenges. Challenges make one stronger. He went in to Yamaha as a rookie and beat the unbeatable on the same bike. I guess he fancies doing it again. From his comments he sees Ducati as unfinished business and that they carry some responsibility for the limited success of the project. I tend to agree. 

No seats at Yamaha and the Satalite team may not even yet happen so was very risky to wait. 

No-one knows if he can make it work - that's why it's so fascinating and delicious watching someone try. 

We don't want these mega salaried riders to have it easy, do we?

There could be some mileage in HRC seeing Marc riding round issues and this not resulting in building a better bike. Maybe they need someone sensitive with such a high demand for the mid-corner stability to help guide development. That could make MM even faster of course.

Total votes: 52

Lorenzo gets the only factory seat still available (well, the only really desireable one). Honda takes a potential race winner and possible championship contender away from their rivals.

Total votes: 54

Lorenzo has a chance to be a race winner with 3 manufacturers.  If he can win on a Ducati, he surely can on Honda.

Total votes: 49

Just incredible.  Repsol will have the best team in I don't know how many decades.  World champions in both slots.  

Total votes: 52

Is Fernando Alonso Jorge's new manager, or what? I can't wait to see how this turns out.

Total votes: 52

The Honda is (from my understanding) on a totally different planet in regards to riding style. If Lorenzo was feeling tired on the Ducati i can only imagine how he'll feel on one of those Honda's. David i assume this cant be just about money as top racers want to win almost more then anything so why the choice? Was this a decision he wanted first and foremost or was this the best option available given the circumstances? I just find it hard to believe that he'll have an easy time making that bike work for him. 

Also yes whats the word with the Petronas satellite Yamaha team? Was that team part of the smoke screen or is that project still in the cards?

Total votes: 62

How the Honda will suit Lorenzo any better than the Ducati maybe its more about him not waiting 6 months for a change like a fuel tank. Seems like small things like that HRC would change quickly for a rider. It's well known how stubborn Ducati are about always thinking the bike is fine and it's the riders who need to change or adapt. Rossi made mention of that after he went back to Yamaha. 

Total votes: 43

I don't think Lorenzo should have trouble adapting to the bike because Pedrosa can fly on that bike and win when he's on form. They both have a smooth riding style. Pedroa's problem is more tire related due to his size. Crutchlow does well too when he's on form. Lorenzo's biggest problem will be Marquez when they are both winning. First goal is to always be ahead of your teammate. When it comes to a head to head battle Marquez is going to rough him up. Think it was bad being Rossi's teammate? Jorge is in for a shocker :) Looking forward to it! I sense some tension in the Reaspol garage in 2019!

Total votes: 52

Also, we all think Lorenzo's mission at HRC will be to learn to ride a bike like Marquez does, but what if his plan is to ride it like Stoner did? 18 months at Ducati have allowed Lorenzo to learn, or at least understand, exactly how Stoner rode a Ducati. This Sunday he has hinted at changes to his riding style without describing them. What if that's it?

We should remember before Marquez came along, the Stoner way worked fine on a Honda and a Ducati.

Thoughts?

Total votes: 64

How would you describe Casey's style? I don't ask this facetiously, the start of my fandom coincided with Stoner's retirement, so I don't have a ready reference for how his riding compares to Lorenzo's. 

I don't find Lorenzo's decision confusing based on how he compares to Marquez. Comparing most of the current crop of riders to Marc is fairly fruitless; he represents, in my mind, the leading edge of a radically different riding style that most veterans aren't even really trying to emulate. The reason I would be concerned, if I were Lorenzo, is because of the experiences of two other riders in recent years: Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa. Cal's increasing competitiveness on the Honda is rooted in embracing the need to (over)load the front tire consistently and, inversely, Dani's increasing struggles have been repeatedly attributed to his struggles in loading and heating the front tire due to his low weight. 

Regardless of Casey's success nearly a decade ago, it seems clear that the current Honda obligates riders to brake deep into the turn and sit the bike up quickly to salvage as much acceleration as possible. That doesn't sound like something Lorenzo's likely to master, at all. But who knows? Maybe the opportunity to be the first rider to win on three factories' machines, and to best Marquez on the machine that's been tailored to his feedback for the last several years will prove motivating enough to overcome the riding style challenges.  

 

Total votes: 73

Pretty sure Lawson did that, winning WCs on Yamaha, Honda and at least one race on the Cagiva (I think).

I'm OK with JL giving it a go on the Honda but if he starts fekking whining that they haven't adapted the bike to suit him then heaven help me.  To my knowledge the last thing Honda does is adapt the bike for the rider.

Total votes: 60

A definite misstatement on my part. It was done most recently by Loris Capirossi, with wins on the Yamaha YZR500, Honda NSR500, and a handful Ducatis. 

Total votes: 37

Describing Casey Stoner's style is a bit difficult, but it included massive lean angles, huge two wheel drifts and dragging his elbow along the asphalt all at once. Comparatively it was even more extreme than Marquez, where Marquez loses the front then catches it, Stoner loses the front and the back but kept it turning by holding the throttle open and the front brake on. Watch the Youtube videos, it was mental.

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It also made him invincible round Phillip Island, he won it six times in seven seasons in Moto GP. Not even Rossi at the height of his powers could keep up with those almost whole lap drifts. Lorenzo's style is almost the exact opposite, both wheels in line and very smooth, but if Lorenzo can win on a Ducati and a Yamaha he can probably win on a Honda.

Total votes: 49

Gonna be so very interesting to see the smooth champ on the RCV. Cant wait! Talk about 2 completely different riding styles...

Total votes: 45

I wonder how much of this is HRC realising they have built a bike that only Marquez can ride, and that Lorenzos' differing style and requirements will bring them to the chassis refinement they strive for.

Total votes: 78

this is exactly what i've been kicking around in my head the last 24 hrs...

Honda is going to develop the RCV to be more multiple rider friendly..

David has hinted at MM93 leaving HRC after 2020..i think HRC know this and are planning for the future FUTURE.  (MM93 is planning to win the next 4 WC's in a row (18,19, 20 for Honda; ) 2021 - KTM on a huge contract...more importantly beating VR46's record with a total of 10 WC's. :)  and then Marc is going to move to F1 for Red Bull.... (doubt me now.)

btw:...gut check -

last Yamaha WC - Lorenzo

last Ducati Win - Lorenzo ( btw: guess which Ducati will win at Sepang & Valencia of this year.....JL99)

To say that Jorge can't make a bike work for him and his style of winning; is absurd.

Total votes: 75

Unless HRC can afford two different direction to develop their bikes, I think JL's career will be stagnant

Total votes: 42

Lorenzo was recruited by Ducati with the specific objective, we were told, to win the Championship. He was the missing piece in the jigsaw. That’s not why Honda is taking him on, Marc’s their man for winning Championships. They won’t thank Lorenzo for taking points off him and handing the rider’s title to another manufacturer in the process, a possibility that can’t be ruled out. And yet he’s probably the last person, other than Mick Doohan, you’d choose as the No 2 rider. He’s always going to be looking out for himself. It’s in his DNA. So what is Honda recruiting Lorenzo to do? Could it be that Alberto Puig has snookered himself? 

Total votes: 62

HRC always try to have the two fastest riders they can get.  Having the champions for seven of the last eight years is about as good as it gets. Also, if Marc has a falling out with HRC or makes too many demands, they have the one man who beat him to the title already signed.

Total votes: 52

That George has been sandbagging due to a personality clash with Ducati management. I think he will go on to win the world championship with them this year then repeat the feat with Honda thus becoming the first rider to win at the top level with three manufacturers!

Total votes: 72

The way I see it, after Lorenzo realized that he was not actually the No. 1 rider at Ducati, it didn't matter if he could make it work for him and his style.  This was the reason he parted ways with Yamaha.  He refused to play second fiddle to Rossi.  His pride hurt @ Ducati and no other realistic options for a factory ride with a chance at winning AND a reasonable paycheck (Suzuki fails on the paycheck side of things) and Honda was his only logical choice.  Even if he has to accept that he will not be the No. 1 rider at Honda, he at least goes in knowing this.  If he thinks he will be anything but the No 2 rider there, his delusions of grandeur are worse than I thought (which is possible).

For Honda, they probably saw how Ducati used JL's feedback (insights regarding the Yamaha strengths and style compared to the Ducati) and built a better Bologna bullet (well, I thought the Duc got better as the year went by last year). Why not take advantage of the same thing when Lorenzo basically has no where else to go by his own criteria?  Get Yamaha and Ducati insights from a disgruntled (with two factories) rider and give Honda riders a better chance to compete across the grid.  Its a no lose situation for them.  

For Lorenzo, it feeds his ego and need to go against the grain by trying to be one of the few to succeed (race wins at least) with 3 manufacturers to spite a perceived slight (true or not).  No one expects him to be able ride the beast so if he is not able to succeed on the Honda ... nothing to see here.  This beast is only for the cowboys of the grid (Marquez and to a smaller extent Crutchlow).  If by some miracle, he finds a way to ride it well ... Lorenzo the legend (in his own mind) was able to do what few others have been able to.    

I know I am looking forward to seeing what happens at Ducati and Honda next year.

Total votes: 37

I think we should not underestimate Lorenzo. As much as I think he's ...not really all that empathic, he's still a genius on two wheels, you can't be 3 times WC without being a genius on what you're doing...he will make the Honda work for him, way easier than the Ducati, riding a Ducati vs Honda is like riding on a  mountain bike on the road,with knobies, and then getting on a top shelf road bike: hes going to fly, just like Casey did when he jumped into the Honda, he absolutly dominated the Honda and made it do miracles for him, I'm sure that Jorge Lorenzo will make the Honda work, he will develop a style that is within the range of the available adjustments, and find harmony with the machine, even when he rides steady style. If the honda works when being trashed around, it will work when used with precision.

Total votes: 53

Wouldn't that come with the assumption that Jorge is cool with compliying with team orders then? Is there not enough evidence to the contrary?  Or are you of the thought that he'll simply be faster then everyone else but Marc and hence keeping those 20pts away from other teams?

Total votes: 49

This reeks of Puig needing to get his hand around Alzamora's testicles, for eminence in the HRC pit box..

Alzamora nuked Stoner's offer of replacing the injured Pedrosa.. therefore demonstrating his power in  the HRC enclave.

I personally don't think that JL can beat MM on the RCV, but he is the next-best candidate in the field on results.  That Alzamora recognises that MM is not unbeatable was evident from his reaction to the Stoner possibility. 

JL goes to HRC knowing he has Puig's backing.. That's worth a fair bit.

Total votes: 52

I saw a photo that Lorenzo posted of himself in Italy early last week. Something about his expression made me think he had something up his sleeve - it was not the face of a man worried by alleged ‘dwindling options’ in MotoGP. I love him, personally. People don’t get him. He sails on regardless, bending circumstance to his will. Long may he continue to confound.

Total votes: 48

George has annoyed me ever since he was a lollypop sucking teenager but that matters not one iota, when the racing starts and he has the bike, he is so gobsmackingly tallented I simply love him .... and Marc and Valentino and all the rest of the riders who bring us Motogp. Bring it on!

Total votes: 56

If a Repsol sponsored team signs a Spanish rider, you'd imagine a Spanish publication would get the official news scoop.  Which makes me wonder if this was a proper old school unauthorised leak and a spoiler at that?!  If so, you wouldn't need to be a hotshot detective to start looking for the guilty news embargo breaker in an Italian factory team, or an Italian rider's entourage....

Total votes: 51