Three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo has decided to hang his racing boots, as he announced his retirement from the grand prix racing at the end of this season. The announcement came ahead of the season finale Valencia GP this weekend, and amidst the worst season for the Honda rider plagued by multiple injuries. Furthermore, the difficulty to adapt to the Honda RC213V further made things complicated, which meant he hasn't had a top-10 finish this season. This definitely comes as a surprise to Lorenzo's fans who still thought he had a couple of seasons left behind before calling it quits.
MotoGP promoters Dorna called an exceptional press conference on Thursday for the Honda rider, where Lorenzo confirmed this weekend's race would be his last as a MotoGP rider.
Speaking to the press, Lorenzo said, “I always thought there are four significant days in the career of a rider. Your first race, your first win, your first championship and then the day you retire. Well, as you may imagine, I'm here to tell you this day has arrived for me. I want to announce this will be my last race in MotoGP, and that at the end of this race I will retire from professional racing."
He further said, “I was 3-years-old when everything started. Almost 30 years of complete dedication to this sport, my sport. The ones who worked with me, know how much of a perfectionist I am, how much hard work and intensity I put into this. Being like this requires a high level of auto motivation, that's why after nine unforgettable years with Yamaha, without a doubt the most glorious of my career, I felt I needed a change if I wanted to maintain this high commitment with my sport. Moving to Ducati gave me that big boost I needed and even though the results were bad I used that extra motivation as fuel to not give up and finally win that special race at Mugello, in front of all the Ducati fans. After that, when I signed for Honda I got a similar feeling, achieving one of the dreams of every rider: becoming an official HRC factory rider.”
Explaining his decision, Lorenzo said, “Unfortunately, injuries soon came to play an important role in my season, being unable to ride in normal physical conditions. This, plus a bike that never felt natural to me, made my races very difficult. Anyway, I never lost the patience and I kept fighting, just thinking that was a simple matter of time and that after all things would get into the right place. But, as I started to see some light I had this bad crash in Montmelo test, and some weeks later that ugly one in Assen. At that point I had to admit, that when I stopped rolling into the gravel, the first thought that came into my mind was “what the hell I'm doing here? Is this really worth it? I'm done with it.” Some days later after reflecting a lot about my life and career, I decided to give it a try. I wanted to be sure I was not making an early decision.
"The truth is from that crash, the hill became too high for me, and even if I tried I couldn't find the motivation and patience to be able to keep climbing it. You know, I love this sport, I love to ride, but above all things, I love to win. I understood, that if I'm not able to fight for something big, to fight for the title or at least to fight for victories, I cannot find the motivation to keep going especially at this stage of my career. I realised that my goal with Honda, at least in a short time, was not realistic. I have to say I feel very sorry for Honda, especially for Alberto, who really was the one who trusted me and gave me that opportunity."
The Spartan made his grand prix debut in the 125 cc class at the age of 15 years in 2002, and took his maiden win the following year in Brazil. He added three more wins and was on his way to fourth in the standings before being signed on for the 250 cc class in 2005. Lorenzo then managed six podiums that year and went on to win the title crown in 2006 and 2007 before making his MotoGP debut in 2008.
Lorenzo made a smashing debut in the premier-class series with a pole position in the Qatar GP and his first win in the Portugal GP that same year. The rider sealed his first MotoGP World Title in 2010 in a famed rivalry against teammate Valentino Rossi, and bagged his next world title in 2012 beating Dani Pedrosa. His 2015 victory was the most talked about after a season long battle with Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo then moved to Ducati in 2017 after spending nine years at Yamaha but struggled in his first season with the Italian team. He would go on to win three races with Ducati in 2018, but only after announcing his switch to Honda. The rider had a two-year contract with Honda ending in 2020.