Retired three-time MotoGP champion Lorenzo gets Yamaha test role

Lewis Duncan
Autosport
Retired Lorenzo gets Yamaha test rider role
Retired Lorenzo gets Yamaha test rider role

Retired three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo will return to Yamaha in 2020 after agreeing a deal to become its official test rider.

Lorenzo won all three of his MotoGP titles with Yamaha, with which he made his debut in 2008 and remained for nine years until 2016, before departing for Ducati and then an ill-fated move to Honda last season.

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An injury-hit Lorenzo opted to call time on his career at the end of the year having become demotivated during his barren spell on the Honda.

Lorenzo will take part in the Sepang shakedown test on February 2-4, and will be present at "other official IRTA tests" - though a Yamaha release did not specify which.

Yamaha has also confirmed no wildcard outings for Lorenzo are planned, but it is "open to the possibility" should Lorenzo desire.

"I'm very happy with the decision to join the Yamaha factory test team," Lorenzo said.

"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."

Retired Lorenzo gets Yamaha test rider role
Retired Lorenzo gets Yamaha test rider role

Lorenzo follows in the footsteps of the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, who moved into high-profiled test roles with KTM and Honda/Ducati respectively after retiring.

It is the third significant announcement in three days from Yamaha, which on Tuesday announced Maverick Vinales had extended his deal for a further two seasons and on Wednesday revealed Fabio Quartararo would replace Valentino Rossi in 2021.

Yamaha has overhauled its test team for 2020 having split it into a Japanese and European team last year, with former Tech3 rider Jonas Folger helming the latter.

The Japanese marque will now operate a unified test team operation, with the Japanese test team of Kohta Nozane and Katsuyuki Nakasuga carrying out programmes across the globe alongside Lorenzo.

Lorenzo will work closely with former Valentino Rossi crew chief Silvano Galbusera, who looked set to work with Johann Zarco as Yamaha test rider before he went to LCR for the final three races of 2019.

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