Repsol Honda HRC MotoGP driver Jorge Lorenzo has announced this Thursday that this weekends’ Valencia MotoGP will be his last race as a professional pilot. After seventeen years in the competition, the five-time champion from the Balearic Islands has decided to say goodbye. The announcement took place during an emotional press conference at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste.
“Thank you very much everyone for coming. There are four or five significant days in the life of a pilot- your debut race, your first win, your first world championship title – although not everyone can win a world championship- and the day you announce your retirement. This will be my last MotoGP race. I retire from the sport”. It was with those words that Lorenzo announced that he will not compete again after he crossing the finish line next Sunday.
Next to the Spaniard was his friend and Dorna’s CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, as well as his fellow pilots at the highest category of motorcycling. What better wait to go through such an emotional announcement than with the support of your colleagues!
“Signing with Honda was a boost and a dream come true. Being part of the Repsol HRC Honda team is any pilot’s dream. From the beginning, however, I realised that I was not fit enough to be competitive” – explained Lorenzo.
Demotivation after the accident in Assen
“I never had natural sensations with the bike, but I never lost patience. When I began to see some light, I suffered the nasty fall at Montmelo and only two weeks later, the one in Assen. And we all know the consequences. When I stood up from the gravel I thought: Jorge, is all of this really worthy after everything that you have achieved?” – The Spaniard continued.
“(After the accident in Holland) I went home and reflected upon everything, but from that moment on the climb in front of me seemed too high and I couldn’t find the patience or the motivation to pursue it. I love to win and I have realized that it is not possible in the short term with Honda, so … ” – Lorenzo continued explaining what motivated his decision.
The Spaniard will therefore not fulfil his contract with Honda for 2020. He has finally decided to break the contractual obligations with his employer, despite the team of the golden wing offering him his full support had he decided to see his contract through.
The announcement puts an end to the recurring speculations regarding the divorce between Jorge Lorenzo and Honda following the poor results of the Spanish pilot in his first year with the Japanese firm. The rumours reached such level that rivals like Johann Zarco and Cal Crutchlow, from Honda’s satellite team, put themselves forward as candidates to replace Jorge Lorenzo this very same week.
A dream turned into a nightmare
Lorenzo’s adventure with the HRC team has been a sad and dramatic one right from the beginning. He was hired as one half of the MotoGP dream team together with Marc Márquez, but the dream soon turned into a nightmare.
His adventure with Honda started with Lorenzo still convalescing from the falls he suffered in Aragon 2018, where he hurt a foot, and in Thailand, where he injured his arm. Later, in January 2019, he endured a wrist fractured while practising ‘dirt track’ in Italy.
The latter injury prevented him from taking part in the Malaysia preseason tests. It was in such a precarious state, with no training and with a temperamental machine, that the Spaniard faced the race in Qatar. He fell in the free training sessions and broke a rib.
One Grand Prix after another his confidence slowly disappeared. Then, another nasty accident during a practice test in Montmelo. During the actual CatalanGP, he went to the ground again dragging Dovizioso, Viñales and Rossi with him.
But the worst and most dangerous accident was yet to come. Lorenzo suffered a terrifying fall in the Dutch free training sessions, fracturing several vertebrae as a result. Shaken up by the realisation of how serious his injuries could have been, he never fully recovered from the impact.
After missing the races in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, he returned to the track in England, where he finished 66 seconds behind the winner. He was neither physically nor emotionally ready to come back to the competition. Those are the developments that led to the final goodbye of one of the greatest names in Spanish sport and world motorcycling.
Images of ‘Jorge Lorenzo retirement’: Repsol Honda.