News 31 Jan 2020

Yamaha signs Lorenzo to MotoGP testing role

Three-time MotoGP world champion returns to the paddock at official test rider.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Recently retired multi-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo will return to Yamaha Factory Racing this MotoGP season in a testing role with the Japanese manufacturer.

The Spaniard made his debut in MotoGP with Yamaha in 2008 and spent nine years with the factory MotoGP team, winning all three of his premier class titles on the YZR-M1 in 2010, 2012, and 2015 respectively.

He transitioned to Ducati Team in 2017 and 2018, before moving to Repsol Honda last year where he ultimately called time on his career.

Starting from the MotoGP shakedown test at Sepang 2-4 February, Lorenzo will commence his role aboard YZR-M1. He will also take part in other official IRTA tests and some private Yamaha tests this year, with the sole aim to help Yamaha‘s engineers with the 2020 MotoGP development.

“I‘m very happy with the decision to join the Yamaha factory test team,” said Lorenzo. “I was always planning on staying involved in MotoGP and returning to the paddock, and I think this is a suitable role for me. I know the team and the M1 well. The Yamaha really suited my riding style, and it will be very interesting to ’meet up with my old bike again‘.

“Returning to Yamaha brings with it some good memories. We secured many podiums and victories, and three titles together, so we know where our strengths lie. I want to thank Yamaha for this opportunity, because this allows me to do what I love – riding motorbikes and pushing the limit – whilst enjoying a slightly calmer lifestyle than I did in previous years.

“I‘m very motivated to get to work and can‘t wait to start riding. I want to do my best for Yamaha‘s future, and I hope my riding experience will be helpful to Yamaha‘s engineers and riders to bring the title back to Yamaha.”

Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis added: “Of course, we are delighted to welcome Jorge back at Yamaha. When we knew that Jorge would stop his active racing career, we immediately started to consider making a proposal for him to join us.

“The statistics of his achievements with us in those nine years together speak for themselves. He is a vastly experienced MotoGP rider, who is closely familiar with the M1 and the people at Yamaha. We have come to know Jorge as a very precise and motivated rider, with flawless consistency and good technical insight: all the qualities you need in a test rider at this high level.

“Combining Jorge‘s experience, knowledge, and riding speed with experienced crew chief Silvano Galbusera is an important element in Yamaha‘s strategy to strengthen the Test Team, which aims to bridge the gap between the engineers and test riders in Japan and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team.”

It’s understood no wildcard rides are planned for Lorenzo in 2020, but Yamaha is open to the possibility should he decide to race again.