“I’ve always thought there are four significant days in the life of a rider – the first one is your first race, the second one is your first win, then your first world championship – not everyone can win the world championship, but some of us made it. And then, [there’s] the day you retire. As you all imagine, I’m here to announce that this day has arrived for me. This will be my last race in MotoGP and at the end of the race I will retire as a professional racer.”-Jorge Lorenzo
Championship Wins & Race Statistics
- Competed in the 125cc World Championship from 2002-2004 for Derbi (46 Starts, 4 Wins, 9 Podiums, 3 Poles)
- Competed in the 250cc World Championship from 2005-2007, Clenching the World Title for Aprilia in both 2006 & 2007 (48 Starts, 17 Wins, 29 Podiums, 23 Poles)
- Competed in the MotoGP World Championship from 2008-2019, Clenching the MotoGP Title on three occasions for Yamaha in 2010, 2012, & 2015
Love him or hate him, MotoGP fans around the globe can all agree that the announcement of Jorge Lorenzo’s retirement was a sad day and marked the end of an era. We have witnessed Jorge Lorenzo’s raw talent for decades and despite the injuries and bad luck over the years it is without a doubt that Jorge Lorenzo will go down as one of the sport’s favorites and most successful riders. “X-Fuera” has the sixth-most Grand Prix motorcycle racing wins; he dominated the 250cc World Championship with Aprilia, and was at the peak of his career when he won 3 MotoGP World Championships under Yamaha. Jorge Lorenzo deserves more credit for what he has accomplished over the years. It is by no means easy to overcome obstacles both on and off the track and to be able to not only compete but beat racers like Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez to a World Championship.
Jorge Lorenzo’s life on two wheels began at only three years old. His father, an ex-motocross racer who turned to road racing built a bike for Jorge and began to train him. What started as fun between a father and son sharing the love for motorcycles quickly turned into a pressurized environment. Jorge Lorenzo learned to cope with the pressures of his father and began to rise through the ranks. Being the talented youngster that he was, his father had to sign many special permissions forms to allow him to compete in the 125cc class, including the Spanish Championship, European Championship, and the World Championship. On the day of his 15th birthday, Jorge Lorenzo would make his World Championship debut, making him the youngest rider to debut in a World Championship. Lorenzo won 4 Races for Derbi and moved up to the 250cc class with Honda. After only a season with Honda, Jorge Lorenzo would go on to win two 250cc World Championships for Aprilia. 2007 was the more dominating year that featured less crashes and more victories by larger margins. After graduating from the 250cc class with two World Championships under his belt, Lorenzo moved up to the MotoGP World Championship and signed for Yamaha.
MotoGP World Championships
Jorge Lorenzo proved to be very fast in the premiere class early on, winning and landing on the podium multiple times. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistency would take him out of the contention for the Championship in both 2008 and 2009. Lorenzo won his first premier class Championship in 2010, a season with no finish lower than 4th place. He tallied 9 race wins that year and proved he had what it takes to be on top. 2011 came around and Lorenzo had a close battle for the Championship with Casey Stoner. Unfortunately, Lorenzo’s back-to-back Championship Victory was denied by a practice crash in Australia that ended his season and saw Stoner take the Championship. He would place second that year but came back stronger in 2012, finishing first or second in every race and earned himself his 2nd MotoGP World Championship. 2013 saw Lorenzo win more races than his previous seasons in MotoGP, but again was struck by an injury that would cost him the Championship and allowed Marc Marquez to swoop in. In 2014, Lorenzo won only twice and finished the season in third behind his teammate Valentino Rossi and a dominating Marc Marquez. In the 2015 season, Jorge Lorenzo would earn himself his 3rd and final MotoGP World Championship by 5 points over Valentino Rossi. 2016 would be Jorge Lorenzo’s final season with Yamaha. He started the season on the pole but unfortunately his inconsistency that season would cost him another MotoGP World Championship. Lorenzo would go on to finish the season strong in Valencia, setting a qualifying lap record, earning his 65th career pole, and Winning his final race for Yamaha.
The Last of the Bad Spells
Jorge Lorenzo would make a switch to team Ducati in 2017, where he suffered a winning-less season that saw him podium 3 times and place 7th in the MotoGP World Championship. 2018 saw Lorenzo win 3 times for Ducati but unfortunately a crash at the Aragon Grand Prix would brake a bone in his foot. Another move was now in the works for Jorge Lorenzo. He would sign for Repsol Honda on a 2-year deal to replace Dani Pedrosa, retiring that year. There was a slow start to that season for Lorenzo, and unfortunately a crash resulted in a fractured vertebrae.
The Decision to Retire
“When I signed with Honda, it gave me another big boost because I achieved all the riders’ dream, to be an HRC rider for Repsol Honda. Unfortunately injuries came very soon to play an important role in my results, in my performance. I wasn’t able to be in physical normal conditions, to be fast and to be competitive. And this, plus a bike that never felt natural to me, gave me a lot of problems to be competitive like I wanted to be. Anyway, I never lost patience, I kept working with the team, thinking that probably was a matter of time that everything came to the right place. Then when I was starting to see some light in this tunnel, happened a nasty crash in the Montmelo test. And then some days later I crashed again in this ugly Assen crash, you all know the consequences that that created. I have to admit, when I was rolling on the gravel and I stood up, I thought to myself: ‘OK, Jorge, is this really worth it, after what I achieved? To keep suffering? I’m done with it, I don’t want to race anymore’. But then I came back home, I decided to give it a try, I didn’t want to make any early decisions. I kept going. But the truth is, from that moment, the hill became so high and so big for me that I was not able to find the motivation, the patience, to keep trying to climb this mountain. You all know I love to ride, I love competition, I love this sport, but above all things I love to win. I realized at some point that this was not possible, at this short time with Honda. At this stage of my career, was impossible for me to keep motivation. My goal that I put into my mind at the beginning of the season was not realistic, as I said, in this short time. I have to say, I feel very sorry for Honda, especially for Alberto, who was the one who gave me this opportunity. I remember very well that day in the Montmelo test [in 2018], the first meeting that I got with him, to start chatting about my move to Honda, and I said to him: ‘Alberto, don’t make a mistake signing the wrong rider – trust me, and you will not regret it’. Sadly I have to say I disappointed him, I disappointed Honda. However, I think this is the best decision for me and for the team because Honda and Jorge Lorenzo cannot be fighting to just score some points at the end of the race, or even to enter in the top five, or even fight for the podium – which I think would be possible with time. I think we both are winners, that need to fight to win.”-Jorge Lorenzo
Ultimately, as much as it sucks to see, we must realize that this decision was for the better of both parties. It is better to walk away on your own terms than to continue racing without being one with the bike and possibly critically injuring, or even killing yourself. For now, all we can do is sit back and reminisce about the good ole days and wish the best for Jorge and his future. THANK YOU, Jorge Lorenzo. Your presence on the grid will most definitely be missed.