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Jorge Lorenzo: 2010 MotoGP World Champion

Jorge Lorenzo: 2010 MotoGP World Champion

Third place in the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday secured the Fiat Yamaha rider his first ever premier class title.

Jorge Lorenzo’s route to MotoGP glory has been paved with record-breaking achievements, and first began with an encounter with minicross competitions aged just three. Lorenzo competed in this format in addition to trial, minimoto and junior motocross in his native Mallorca over the next few years, then followed up a 50cc Copa Aprilia title by entering the Spanish Championship with special permission, aged just thirteen.

Setting a record unlikely to ever be broken, Lorenzo subsequently became the youngest ever rider to enter a World Championship race. Turning fifteen – the minimum age for Grand Prix participation back then - on the second day of practice for the 2002 Spanish race at Jerez, he made his debut onboard a Derbi 125cc at a track where he would enjoy much success over the next few years.

In just his second season he took his first Grand Prix victory at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where his impressive “round the outside” overtaking manoeuvre on Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa won him the nickname “Por Fuera”. In 2004 he sealed a further three triumphs, before making the move up to the 250cc category a year later and taking four poles and six podiums in his maiden season.

2006 was to be the coming-of-age year for the Mallorcan, who switched to Aprilia machinery and immediately became the favourite for the World Championship. He justified the hype with an impressive eight victories, equalling the pole position record in the process with ten, and lifting the title in an emotional final race of the year at Valencia.

Another dominant year in 2007 saw Lorenzo retaining the quarter-litre title, with all nine of his victories coming from pole. At just twenty years old, he was a two-time 250cc World Champion and took on his biggest challenge to date by signing for the Yamaha factory team in MotoGP alongside Valentino Rossi.

Lorenzo made an immediate impact in the premier class with a stunning first five races. He took pole on his debut - becoming the first man to do so since Max Biaggi ten years previously - and finished second in an astounding performance in Qatar. He followed up the feat with pole at the next two races, becoming the first rider to go ‘three from three’ in his rookie season and turning both top spots into podium finishes.

Unfortunately his debut MotoGP season in 2008 was also marred by a few big crashes and injuries, including two broken ankles in China that eventually forced the debutant out of action for his home race in Catalunya. However he regained his fitness and confidence in the latter part of the season, and picked up the pace to finish fourth overall and become Rookie of the Year.

Lorenzo went from strength to strength last year, pushing his colleague and fierce rival Rossi all the way for the title. Their battle at Catalunya was a season highlight, and Lorenzo picked up four wins as part of a 12-podium haul for the year, with five pole positions as well. Ultimately he was unable to wrest the title from Rossi’s grip, but his challenge was becoming ever stronger.

2010 has seen Lorenzo’s star rise even further, and he was finally able to shake off the ‘inconsistent’ tag by scoring podium finishes in the first twelve races of the season, winning seven of them in the process. He has taken pole on six occasions this season, and qualified on the front row of the grid for every race except one. Still aged just 23, he becomes only the second World Champion from Spain in the premier class after Alex Crivillé, and having signed with the factory Yamaha team for two more seasons is a guarantee to be challenging for more honours in the years to come.

Title-winning statistics for Jorge Lorenzo:

– Jorge Lorenzo becomes the second Spanish rider to win the MotoGP world title – the other was Alex Crivillé in 1999.

– He is the first Spanish rider to win world titles in both the 250cc class and premier class.

– Lorenzo has finished in the top four at the first 15 races of the year on his way to taking the world title.

– At the age of 23 years 159 days he is the sixth youngest rider of all-time to win the premier class title, after Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, Mike Hailwood, John Surtees and Valentino Rossi.

– He is the third youngest rider to have won world titles in both the 250cc and premier class, after Mike Hailwood and Valentino Rossi.

– During 2010, Jorge Lorenzo became only the fourth rider in the 62-year history of motorcycle Grand Prix racing to finish on the podium in the premier class at the opening twelve GP races of the year.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2010, SHELL ADVANCE MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team

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