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Lorenzo Quick and Comfortable First Day Back on Yamaha M1 (with video)

The MotoGP community watched with great interest as five-time World champion Jorge Lorenzo took his first laps aboard a 2020 Yamaha M1 on the final day of the Sepang “shakedown” test earlier today. Lorenzo won all three of his MotoGP titles aboard a Yamaha M1, but has struggled over the last three years adapting to a Ducati, and then a Honda, before suffering serious injuries several months ago that further sapped his strength and confidence.

After “retiring” from racing following a year of frustration with Honda, Yamaha picked up his rare talent to act as a test rider. Lorenzo will help fine-tune the M1 for the Yamaha stable of star racers, which includes Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli.

Lorenzo completed just 46 laps at Sepang today, but set a very competitive time – just 1 second off the best lap of the three-day test set by Pol Espargaro (KTM). Perhaps even more important, Lorenzo was already much faster than other Yamaha test riders on the track during this test. His test time today matched his best qualifying lap on a Honda at this same track last November. Lorenzo also reported that he had no back pain today – something he had the last time he rode a Honda.

Lorenzo is expected to participate in the official Sepang MotoGP test beginning this Friday. Yamaha has already stated it is open to Lorenzo’s participation as a “wild card” entry to race MotoGP events this year should Lorenzo decide to “un-retire”. Here is a video posted on Facebook highlighting Lorenzo’s first day on the new M1

Lorenzo returns to Yamaha at Sepang

Whoever thought we would see Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha once again? 🤩The five-time World Champion stepped back aboard a YZR-M1 on Day 3 of the Sepang Shakedown! 👊#MotoGP

Posted by MotoGP on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

23 Comments

  1. Thad Stelly says:

    It is nice to see JL appearing more relaxed and enjoying a lower pressure life now. It seems as though the humbling the stints at Ducati & Honda have aided his dynamic growth as an individual. He’s earned it.

  2. John says:

    Blu blockers. Best comment in 2020

  3. Kermit says:

    Never was a JL99 fan, he road for Yamaha and I’m aa Honda man. And some of his post race antics were a bit strange but whatever works for him. But as a rider, I did have alot of respect for. He was/is a very talented rider and when he joined Honda, I thought there is a powerhouse team. With all that being said, I think he will flourish on the M1. The bike suited him in the past, I think it will now. This could be very interesting. The biggest threat to MM93 could come from a Yamaha (test) rider.

  4. dt-175 says:

    90 seconds of that sounds better than the whole ten days of Sturgis…

  5. TimC says:

    Are those BluBlockers?

  6. Nick says:

    To me, that looked like a rider enjoying himself! Go Jorge!

  7. Jeremy McIntire says:

    I know that these tests don’t really mean squat, but with none of the actual riders on track save for the Espargaro’s, isn’t it a bit premature to call Lorenzo “quick” when he is a full second off of Pol’s time?

    Don’t get me wrong… I think he will be quick. But I wouldn’t call this particular outing quick just yet.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      His time was quick given the lap records for that track and his inexperience with the bike … regardless of who else was on the track.

      • Jeremy says:

        I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. References from other riders on the same track at the same time are much more relevant, in my opinion, than previous lap records taken on different bikes, tires, and with different atmospheric conditions. Otherwise the real story here would be that KTM (and Aprilia for that matter) has, over the course of a winter, suddenly advanced from back marker to podium fighter while Pol got his Alien Club membership approved. Possible I suppose, but unlikely.

        If Lorenzo were a second off of Marquez or Vinales at the same test, I’d say he were looking fast. One second off of Pol Espargaro is just JL99 2018. For sure he needs to get adjusted to the bike, but in the same breath I doubt the newest M1 is particularly foreign to him.

        All that said, I doubt Lorenzo was even trying for a lap time. Like I mentioned, these test don’t really mean anything in terms of what is and isn’t quick.

        • Jeremy says:

          Edit: scratch “JL99 2018” and replace with “JL99 2019”

        • Dave says:

          Jeremy, there are reports on the test in other outlets. I posted this from one of them below: “Pol’s time (1m 59.444s) was faster than the race lap record (1m 59.661s) at the circuit.”. Given Pol’s pace, JL’s time has a good reference point relative to the track’s history.

          • Jeremy says:

            That is true, Dave, but what I am saying is that historic lap times just aren’t particularly relevant, unless the bikes, tires and conditions are the same as the bikes that set those records. Being competitive with a lap record is not the same as being competitive with your peers. KTM and Aprilia just aren’t benchmarks unless the 2020 evolution of their bikes has been drastic. Which would be awesome, but I doubt that is the case. So I don’t think there is a valid reference to determine whether or not Lorenzo was quick or not.

            In the context that Dirck mentioned, Lorenzo needs to learn the bike. I personally think he was just out cruising around and wasn’t even trying for a hot lap, but we’ll see soon enough.

          • Dave says:

            By “good reference”, I mean good indicator. We couldn’t know for the reasons you state.

            It turns out that it was a good indicator. There’s another test happening now with most of the teams. As of 3pm, Pol is in 8th, .59 off of #1 (Quartararo) and one position in front of Rossi and 0.17 behind Vinales.

            The other heavy hitters are a little off the back as usual for the 1st day while they dial in the “new stuff”. I expect they’ll shuffle up the order in the next two days.

          • Dave says:

            Day 3 of Sepang test is over. Lorenzo only rode this day. His best time was 20th out of 27, 1.348 behind Quartararo. The leaderboard is pretty interesting. Rossi finished the day p5, .192 behind, #2 Yamaha.

            Q’s P1 best lap was 1:58.349.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          Let’s remember the context. It was his very first day on the motorcycle. In any event, we will see how he runs in the test beginning tomorrow.

  8. Does Honda have any contractual “hold” (as in non-compete clause) on JL should he decide to race again?

  9. Dave says:

    “best lap of the three-day test set by Pol Espargaro (KTM)”

    To me, this is the most interesting thing about the test, even if the Espargaro bro’s are the only full time riders at the test (all others were test riders). Pol’s time (1m 59.444s) was faster than the race lap record (1m 59.661s) at the circuit. The new Aprilia was also fast @ .178 behind.

  10. DucDynasty says:

    We need more videos of riders doing solo laps. So much to learn and enjoy, just by watching the lines and listening to the glorious sounds!

  11. Dave J says:

    This guy is too good to be finished! It would be great to see him regain his confidence and get back to racing!

  12. Provologna says:

    Very nice report and video, Dirck! Would love to see Jorge racing again. Thank you.

  13. Fred N says:

    Good one George.
    Hope you get a wildcard ride or three just to show the pack that you weren’t finished up.