We just received official confirmation in a very short email from HRC confirming the signing of Jorge Lorenzo.
Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to announce the signing of three-times MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Spanish rider will join the Repsol Honda Team for the next two years.
From 2019, Lorenzo will become teammate to four-times MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez: two great champions with great talent and high hopes that will make a stronger team and contribute to the development of HRC.
As this correspondence came directly from HRC, rather than via the normal Repsol HRC press channels, we suspect that some details around sponsor arrangements etc. are yet to be confirmed.
Honda recently confirmed that Dani Pedrosa’s contract is not to be renewed for 2019, which paved the way for Lorenzo to join HRC.
The agreement is reportedly worth €4 million per year, and is believed to have been reached in principle several days ago. The deal is somewhat less than what Lorenzo is reportedly paid at Ducati which is said to be €12m per year.
Lorenzo won three MotoGP titles while at Yamaha but has not until very recently shown his his potential on the Bologna machine. Despite Lorenzo’s convincing Mugello victory, it looks like his new found pace may have came too late in order to lonk in a future with Ducati.
Having re-signed four-time champion and current championship leader Marquez on a new deal back in January, Honda negotiated with several riders for the second seat at the factory team with rumors circulating the net that Kawasaki’s WSBK champ Jonathan Rea could potentially ride for HRC.
Prior to him becoming Honda’s main target, Lorenzo’s name had also been linked to a satellite Yamaha bike in 2019.
Lorenzo’s departure will leave a hotly contested seat on a factory Ducati open where no doubt a few riders will be jostling for first choice, Petrucci and Miller at the front of that battle.
Jorge Lorenzo now will join Valentino Rossi as having ridden for Yamaha, Ducati and now HRC Honda. Rossi claimed championships for both Honda and Yamaha, but failed to win a race on the Ducati, a feat that Lorenzo just added to his resume. The Spaniard will now look forward to making it three different manufacturers he would have won races with.