Lorenzo: "I approached Honda"

Ahead of the Catalan GP, the Spaniard talks all things Honda, Ducati and the Championship

To say it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) ahead of this weekend’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya would be a huge understatement.

After Le Mans, rumours suggesting the five-time World Champion would be departing the Bologna factory were stronger than ever. Between the French GP and the Italian GP, two options seemed to be on Lorenzo’s table: retirement, or a shock return to Yamaha.

However, after his masterful Mugello victory, neither of those options would prove to be Lorenzo’s future. Instead, an unforeseen switch to join the Repsol Honda Team on a two-year-deal came to light, completing a formidable 2019 and 2020 factory Honda line up alongside reigning Champion Marc Marquez.

Speaking ahead of his home Grand Prix in Barcelona, Lorenzo confirmed that after Le Mans, he knew his future past this season wasn’t with Ducati. “After Le Mans it was clear I was going to leave Ducati and they wanted to swap riders,” explained the number 99, who then told the media that it was him and his management who approached HRC. “So, my manager and I started to think about projects. I approached Honda.”

This now means the Spaniard will ride for a third different manufacturer in the premier class, having to adapt to another type of motorcycle after making the switch from Yamaha to Ducati at the end of 2016. Nonetheless, this is a challenge that doesn’t seem to faze Lorenzo. “Now, everybody is looking at me… I entered the Championship when I was 16, I know how fast I can be on different bikes. I won with Derbi, I rode for Honda, Aprilia, Yamaha, Ducati. I’ve worked for a lot of hours, millions of hours, and I have this capacity. I know what I want to do with the bike and for sure it will be a challenge, but that’s the future.”

With much of the pre-event Press Conference talk understandably surrounding the numerous contract deals that had been finalised ahead of the Catalan GP, Lorenzo was keen to focus on the present, with him and Ducati currently in a “sweet moment”.

“We are in a sweet moment with Ducati, it’s a good package and we try and improve it every month,” said the Ducati rider. “It’s good for all (Ducati) riders, on our side we got some pieces that helped me keep a constant pace and we arrive at a good track after a good test a month ago here.”

And what about Lorenzo’s chances of a title challenge in his final year with Ducati? He currently sits 54 points adrift of Marquez, but as Lorenzo explains, anything can still happen. “We see amazing things in MotoGP. We just won one race, we don’t know what we can achieve in the future. We’re here, at a track that I like, where I’ve won with Yamaha in the past. I’m in a good way. Anything can happen but we’re all so close.”