MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo has revealed the main reason for his decision to quit Yamaha at the end of the season and join Ducati for the 2017 campaign. The reigning champion announced his move to the Italian team just before his home Grand Prix at Jerez on Sunday (24 April), and it has been the main topic of discussion all across the grid.
Ducati have not had consistent success since the departure of Casey Stoner, and were very poor during nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi's stint at the team. The Italian manufacturers, however, have stepped up in the last couple of seasons and are now able to challenge the top Honda and Yamaha riders during the race.
Lorenzo, who has spent nine years with Yamaha in the premier class, winning three world titles revealed that he needed a new challenge and the prospect of winning on a bike other than a Yamaha gave him the added motivation he was looking for.
"I think there are many reasons, but the biggest one has been my motivation. The challenge to try and win with another bike and the challenge for me after so many years in the world championship, in MotoGP, to give my maximum effort everyday as I always try to do, because I think I am one of the most professional riders and my focus is 100%," the 2015 World champions said, as quoted by Motogp.com
"I felt I needed this new challenge to get the motivation to work as hard as I did till now. This is the main reason," he added.
Lin Jarvis, the managing director of Yamaha Motorsport, admitted that it was a sad moment to see the Spanish rider leave the team and confirmed that he was offered a new deal to remain in the team for the foreseeable future. The Japanese team's chief is hoping for a successful end to their nine-year union, which has seen them win three titles and Lorenzo record 99 podium finishes thus far.
"It's like going to discotech and asking a girl to dance and she chooses the guy next to you. Of course we would have preferred for Jorge to stay there's no doubt about that, hopefully we can finish this season off in the style we ran the whole eight years together," Jarvis explained ahead of the fourth race of the season in Jerez.
"This is our ninth season together, we've had a really good run. I was very involved when Jorge came to Yamaha so of course when you get to the end of an era, to a period, it's a sad moment for sure," the Yamaha chief added.
Valentino Rossi, who signed a new two-year deal to remain at Yamaha earlier in the season, was a little sceptical to speak about his teammate's move to the Italian manufacturer. He had a dreadful spell with Ducati in 2011 and 2012, but acknowledges that the bike has improved in the last two seasons, and is confident that Lorenzo will be competitive with his new team next season.
"Difficult to say for me, but more or less the same. Different moment in terms of time because I'm older but it's similar in terms of moment in our careers. Looks like that the Ducati in the last two years has improved a lot and is a competitive bike, it's for sure very different to Yamaha. I know the skills of Lorenzo to ride and I think that he will be competitive with Ducati," Rossi said, as quoted by motogp.com