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Having spent his entire premier class career with Yamaha, Jorge Lorenzo will move to the factory Ducati Team for 2017.
On Monday the 18th of April 2016, Ducati announced that they have reached an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo which will see the Spanish rider take part in the MotoGP™ World Championship in 2017 and 2018 aboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Team. After nine seasons in MotoGP™ with Yamaha and three titles, this is a big step for Lorenzo as he aims to join the likes of Rossi, Lawson, Duke, Stoner and Giacomo Agostini in taking premier class titles on two different makes of motorcycle.
In 2008 Lorenzo stepped up to the premier class and immediately impressed with pole position and second place on his debut. Although the season had several big crashes, it was clear that the partnership was set to produce something special. He would go on to grab the Rookie of the Year title with ease and assert himself as a title threat in the coming years.
2010 was Lorenzo’s real breakthrough; taking six wins and never finishing a race lower than second. This incredible consistency has become a trademark of the Majorcan, taking the title with an incredible 383 points. Since then no champion in the MotoGP™ class has managed to score more points on their way to the title and will be one of the many records Lorenzo and Ducati will be eager to break.
A difficult season followed in 2011, Lorenzo missing the final three rounds of the year due to an injured finger. Despite this he and Yamaha still managed to end the championship in second place overall. The combination would come back stronger in 2012 as Lorenzo fended off both Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner to take his second premier class title with Yamaha. He would take six wins and once again never finished a race lower than second place. Lorenzo had changed how races were run, his ability to break away at the front forcing other riders to adapt their race strategy.
Eight wins would come in 2013 as Lorenzo once again did battle with a Repsol Honda rider for the crown, but this time it was Marc Marquez. The two would battle till the last race, Lorenzo doing all he could to take victory but missed the title by a merger four points. 2014 would be another trying season as an inconsistent start ruled Lorenzo out of the title chance. He would take just two wins that season but would again finish inside the top three overall. As ever he and Yamaha remained focused and came back strong for 2015.
The 2015 season proved unforgettable as Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi rekindled their old rivalry and sparred for the title throughout the year. After a difficult start to the season Lorenzo rallied and pushed Rossi till the bitter end, once more the title would be decided in Valencia. A classically flawless ride followed for Lorenzo as he took his seventh win of the year and his third MotoGP™ World Championship.
By the third round of the 2016 season Lorenzo and Yamaha had claimed 99 podium finishes together, the same number Lorenzo has raced with for the majority of his time in the premier class. On the eve of round four, the Jerez GP, it was announced that Lorenzo would Ducati for the 2017 and 2018 seasons as both parties look for a new challenge. Lorenzo and Luigi Dall’Igna will once again be working together, Dall’Igna having been heavily involved in both of Lorenzo’s 250cc titles with Aprilia.
Ducati will be hoping that Lorenzo provides the boost they need to take their first title since Casey Stoner in 2007 and return them to regularly fighting for race wins. Since Dall’Igna joined the Bologna factory, Ducati have gone from strength to strength and gone from struggling for the top five to fighting for the podium consistently. The adventure with Ducati is a big step for Lorenzo who has never ridden a bike other than an M1 in MotoGP™ but his undeniable talent and Ducati’s rejuvenation look set to make it a fruitful one.
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