MCN's MotoGP rider of the year: 4th Jorge Lorenzo
MCN’s Sports Desk rank the five riders who have impressed them most in the MotoGP World Championship during the 2017 season.
4th – Jorge Lorenzo
- Best result: 1st
- Wins: 4
- Podiums: 10
- Championship position: 3rd
Has there ever been a year of such extreme highs and lows for a MotoGP front runner as Jorge Lorenzo went through in 2016? Unstoppably fast when things went right – he topped and tailed the season with victories at Qatar and Valencia – his struggles in the middle of the year, especially in the rain, made any hopes of title defence impossible.
From the opening round in Qatar, when he took pole position, fastest lap (in the final laps of the race no less) and the win, it looked like his chances of a title defence were higher than ever. But it only took until Argentina and the second round for the house of cards to come tumbling down around him, as double calamity struck in South America.
Rain in Sunday’s race, and a crash out of the points, certainly wasn’t in the cards – and even worse, it was only a sign of things to come, as his wet weather form and his confidence deserted him in the middle of one of the most unpredictable seasons weather-wise we’ve seen in years.
Assen, Sachsenring, Phillip Island and Brno were all disasters for the reigning champion, and when combined with being the unfortunate victim of yet another Andrea Iannone mistake at Barcelona, he never found the momentum that he needed to hold off both Marc Marquez and teammate Valentino Rossi – even with both facing their own issues throughout the season.
But while 2016 might be a year that Lorenzo is quick to put behind him, 2017 brings a whole new adventure with the switch to Ducati after a long nine seasons at Yamaha. Already fast in testing and perhaps more importantly, pleasantly surprised by the Ducati package, he admits himself that he might not quite be a title contender next year – but it’s hard to rule him out of contention for the first race win in Qatar.