The future of Jorge Lorenzo MotoGP 2019 is one of the biggest unknowns of the MotoGP transfer market. In recent weeks, the ways ahead of the Spaniard and Ducati have been increasingly separated, while the Suzuki option has taken some more strength. But there is more …
There are two main options (Ducati and, above all, Suzuki), but the withdrawal is not even ruled out
Between staying in Ducati or signing for Suzuki seems to be the resolution of the case, although there are very important things to consider. Meanwhile, other different routes have also been opened, such as the possibility of the retirement of the Spanier, and an even more remote option: to return to Yamaha with an official motorcycle within an independent team.
Jorge Lorenzo MotoGP 2019 Increasingly away from Ducati
The paths of Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati are separating more and more. He was the star signing of the Italian brand two years ago, receiving 25 million euros for his contract (12.5 per season), is now on the line. The progression followed throughout 2017 and that invited to think that in 2018 would continue that ascending line, has been cut by the roots. The five-time champion does not finish adapting to the Desmosedici and with the new GP18, it seems to have returned to the starting box.
In spite of the small advance that the prototype of this year contributes to the path of the curve, the motorcycle still does not allow him to squeeze his strong points, it is very physical and the explosiveness of the first laps remains in water of borage as soon as his physique begins to resist the demand of the new motorcycle.
“I’m stronger than ever and I’m working harder than ever,” confesses Lorenzo when asked if he has to vary his physical preparation to avoid suffering these problems. That does not seem the solution; simply, he is still not done to the Ducati.
The priority of the Italian brand was quite clear: retain Andrea Dovizioso. It has cost more than expected, in terms of money and time to close the contract, but have already confirmed until 2020 the driver who has achieved the best result with Ducati since Stoner decided to leave at the end of 2010.
The rise of Dovizioso’s salary – estimated to be about 6 million a year – irrevocably leads to a drop in Lorenzo’s fees, to which we must add that the loss of a strong sponsorship in Ducati like TIM’s has reduced the budget of the one that the Italian brand has to pay its official riders.
The roles have been completely reversed and there is talk that now Jorge Lorenzo, if he wants to continue with them, would have to accept a contract similar to the current one by Andrea Dovizioso, with a much lower base salary and awards for results, than in the case of Italian translated into extra profits given the excellent results achieved in 2017.
“Everyone knows in the paddock the value that Jorge Lorenzo has and what he is capable of doing when he is well with the bike”, is the speech that holds the Balearic he knows that right now his market value has declined with the poor results of the last two years, but he does not seem willing to reduce his claims as much as Ducati offers.
The decision with Ducati, in Montmeló; Petrucci waits
Is there a deadline to know your future with the Italian house? asked Lorenzo in Le Mans. He did not set an exact date, but he did say that “the next three races -referring to Le Mans, Mugello, and Montmeló- are very important“.
From Ducati they are more concise: «Between Mugello and Catalonia we will decide», explained Paolo Ciabatti in an interview with the newspaper AS. Pending awaiting that decision is Danilo Petrucci, who seems to have frozen his options with Aprilia considering that Borgo Panigale sees him as a strong candidate to be an official driver next year.
But of course, Ducati cannot continue to stretch the rope much with Petrucci, because the Aprilia option will probably be snatched away by Andrea Iannone, who unless a tremendous turn, will not continue in Suzuki – we’ll talk about that later. And Petrucci already said clearly before beginning the year that he will not continue in Pramac, which in turn has assured for 2019 to Bagnaia and Miller.
If a bet were to be made today, the most feasible pair in official Ducati is Andrea Dovizioso-Danilo Petrucci. The current runner-up rocked Lorenzo on Friday at Le Mans, explaining that both Petrucci and Miller are the great candidates to be his teammate.
“The choice of Ducati is between Miller and me; it is not a joke what I am saying, it is because our salary is lower », responded in this regard ‘Petrux’. By gallons, if anyone had to replace Lorenzo, it will be him, who has been at Pramac since 2014. And we already say that the meeting point between Lorenzo and Ducati is increasingly distant.
Suzuki? Maybe with complementary support
In the gossip of the MotoGP paddock, it is increasingly clear that the future of Jorge Lorenzo will be linked to Suzuki, but there are many fringes in between. The Japanese brand has shown its competitiveness with Iannone and Rins this season and, a priori, the riding style of ‘Giorgio’ would marry very well with the GSX-RR, a motorcycle that has one of its virtues in the chassis and that could allow When the Balearic Islands squeeze their strengths on top of the bike. It seems easier to regain competitiveness by betting on this brand before you find it with the Desmosedici. We emphasize the “a priori” mentioned above, motorcycling is not an exact science.
But again there is a stumbling block in the negotiations: the budget. Suzuki usually puts on the table about five million euros to distribute between its two pilots. Alex Rins is already renewed and it is assumed that the Hamamatsu could not offer a very high sum to Lorenzo either. That is where other factors could come into play, such as the sponsors that the Spaniard could bring to this project.
In Italy, there was talk that Movistar could go with Suzuki if Jorge Lorenzo arrives, but there are more ballots so that Monster Energy can accompany the Spaniard in this adventure. When Valentino Rossi returned to Yamaha in 2013 after his terrible journey in Ducati, he had to do it by bending his ears, loosely lowering his salary and bringing some sponsors as is the case of Monster.
It seems that the story could be repeated with Lorenzo and Suzuki; keep in mind that the brand of energy drinks will not have any team to sponsor as soon as Tech3 goes with KTM – brand sponsored by Red Bull, direct competition from Monster -, so do it with Suzuki and a hypothetical pair Lorenzo-Rins is an interesting option.
That said, the Japanese firm has on its radar another Mallorcan rider: Joan Mir, another serious candidate for the seat that is free. The risk of incorporating the Moto3 champion is to bring together two young riders in the same structure, that of Suzuki, who cannot afford the luxury of not having an experienced rider to develop the bike.
That fits better Lorenzo’s piece, but if it is for pretensions, Mir’s will be lower and it is easier to reach an agreement with the Hamamatsu in that regard. All this if Honda does not appear in the middle; because if the house of the golden wing is sent to recruit to Mir for 2019, as it seems that it will happen, it has all the to win.
And what about Iannone? Well, your future in Suzuki has days counted. The Italian rider, who on many occasions is more in the spotlight for extra sports news than for what he does on the track, does not like it in Japan. And this is not new, it is something that was forged in 2017. As much as it has achieved two podiums – one more than Rins – and that is in a good shape, the slab that he built himself last year has him with one and a half feet off the mark. Aprilia seems his most likely destination.
Does Jorge Lorenzo weigh his retirement?
The answer is a yes. Put another way more correct: do not discard it. “I do not believe that there is the possibility of a sabbatical year. If it’s time to quit, I’ll definitely leave it. But I do not think I’ll take any sabbatical, “said Jorge at Le Mans. Among other things, because parking the activity would not lead to a sabbatical year, but two, which is the period for which all important MotoGP contracts are signed.
If Lorenzo leaves, he leaves completely. And although it is a difficult possibility to occur, it can happen. Emilio Pérez de Rozas reveals it in “El Periódico de Catalunya” by means of a source close to the Balearic Islands. The #99 already spoke in the past on this subject and affirmed that he would not like to retire very late, a statement made a few years ago and that returns to the forefront taking into account the delicate situation that lies ahead.
We emphasize that it is not ruled out, but also that it is not the most probable. What invites us to think that Jorge Lorenzo would not retire yet? Obviously, he remains one of the best riders on the grid although his results in the last year and a half do not show it; besides that, a pilot with his track records, with his personality and self-esteem, does not usually get off the boat just when things are not going well. In fact, has got between the eye and brow that wants to succeed with Ducati. That is his priority, but time has almost run out and his value is falling in a sport in which the curriculum counts, but the latest results count more.
Bonus: Lorenzo and Yamaha, the magnet and the metal
The current situation of Jorge Lorenzo is complicated, although Yamaha is not to shoot rockets precisely. Putting these two premises together, the fourth way comes: Will Jorge Lorenzo return to Yamaha? Difficult, although from Italy they say that the brand is willing to offer a third official M1 within a satellite structure.
All this must be taken with tweezers, firstly because Yamaha has not even confirmed that it will have a second team. The Marc VDS was the best positioned, but the Belgian structure is experiencing a real internal chaos to think that this possibility is going to materialize soon. Del Ángel Nieto Team was also talked about as a possible heir to the Tech1 M1.
Yamaha needs Lorenzo, and Lorenzo needs Yamaha. Since they separated their ways, both parties are living the worst stages of recent years. Coincidence or not, the only M1 that regularly fights for the podiums is one based on 2016 -the last year of Lorenzo there- and that is carried by a rider-Zarco- who, to maximize the strengths of this bike, tries to trace the style of piloting of #99. A rider whose future is also painted KTM orange.
Yamaha could come to the rescue of Jorge Lorenzo, but it does not seem too feasible. To convince the Balearic they would have to do it with a solid project in an independent structure -something that does not exist right now- and guarantee that they will have the same bike as Viñales and Rossi. At the same time, making an important economic effort, because they would have three roosters distributed between two corrals. In this hypothetical case, the situation for Lorenzo would be similar to those of Ducati or Suzuki; his emoluments would be much lower than the current ones, is also relegated to a second plane within the signature of the tuning forks.
Accept a drop in your claims and bet on the options you have (Suzuki, Ducati or Yamaha’s “super” hypothesis) to try to show again why you are one of the best drivers on the grid or put an end to your trajectory. That is the current panorama of Jorge Lorenzo and his uncertain future for MotoGP 2019. In just a few weeks we will leave doubts.