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Jorge Lorenzo Joins the Yamaha Factory Racing Test Team for 2020

Lorenzo aboard the podium after winning a MotoGP race for Yamaha in 2015 – one of his championship years.

Widely rumored, Jorge Lorenzo, shortly after retiring from racing, has decided to accept an offer from Yamaha to serve as a MotoGP test rider for the 2020 season. Lorenzo has five World championships, including three in the MotoGP category – each earned aboard a Yamaha.

Here is the press release from Yamaha:

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Yamaha Motor Racing are delighted to announce that five-time World Champion and very successful Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo will be reinforcing the Yamaha Factory Racing Test Team for the 2020 season.

Lorenzo is not only a big name in the MotoGP paddock but also a widely celebrated Yamaha rider. He 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.

Starting from the MotoGP shakedown test, held in Sepang, Malaysia from 2-4 February, Lorenzo will ride the 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. The Spaniard is the perfect man for the job as he is known for his smooth, precise riding and clear feedback. He will be supported in his search for innovation by Silvano Galbusera, who will be Crew Chief for Lorenzo in the Yamaha Factory Racing Test Team.

So far, no wild card rides are planned for Lorenzo in 2020, but Yamaha is open to the possibility, should he decide to race again.

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.

I‘m very happy with the decision to join the Yamaha Factory Test Team. 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.

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  1. Hot Dog says:

    JLo has first hand knowledge of Duc’s and Honda’s abilities. Brilliant on Yamaha’s part.

  2. mickey says:

    Geezalou, cant say Yamaha isnt making an effort.

  3. joe b says:

    it just looks like Yamaha is doing all they can to get back in the hunt. last year, a lot of people speculated what Quartararo could do “on Rossi’s bike”, and now with that a reality, and Lorenzo working in the background to use his skills and experience to help with development, lets see if the inline engine can be competitive again. or, is it really just Marquez who rides the wheels off the Honda?

    • Dave says:

      5 of the top 10 bikes were inline 4’s, 4 of them Yamaha’s. Marquez won 12 of the races last year on a bike that nobody else could win on (the next Honda in the standings was 9th). The only way anyone else will win a championship is if Marquez does something that scuttles his own chances.

  4. Bart says:

    Good point. If he says to change the gas tank shape will that make the bike better for factory riders.

  5. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Welcome back, Jorge.
    That new-fangled mattress must have worked.

  6. Curtis says:

    These first two comments captured my first two thoughts as well.

  7. Todd says:

    He is setting up his return.
    1st develop the bike to your liking
    2nd, cherry pick a few races maybe pick up win or beat the Yamaha riders.
    Return for 2021.
    A brilliant plan.

    • J from TX says:

      Or, Yamaha knows he might not be done.
      1st Have him develop the bike to his liking.
      2nd Select a few races to see if he can pick up a win or beat the Yamaha riders.
      If all is good, offer him a seat on the same satellite team as VR46. Yamaha has Viñales, Quartararo, Rossi, and Lorenzo.

    • Curtis says:

      If he starts setting competitive times against the factory riders, I wouldn’t bet against you.

  8. Dave says:

    On the surface this seems like a pretty curious move. Jorge is known to be a particular rider of a very particular style. If Yamaha has a strength, it’s that their platform is versatile enough to compete under several different riders. Will Jorge’s feedback support that or reduce it?

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