MotoGP: Yamaha lifeline for Lorenzo?

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Jorge Lorenzo may be set to make a spectacular return to Yamaha machinery for the 2019 MotoGP world championship if the latest paddock rumours are to be believed, after losing out on a chance to join the Suzuki squad and on rocky ground with current employers Ducati.

Lorenzo’s time with the Bologna firm has been difficult to say the least as he tries to adopt his smooth riding style to the aggressive nature of the Desmosedici. Able to make some headway and still showing glimmers of his old form (like when he led the opening laps of the French Grand Prix two weeks ago), he has nonetheless suffered to find any consistency with the bike.

And with the five-time world champion looking at limited options thanks to MotoGP’s earlier than ever silly season, it looks like championship bosses Dorna are formulating a plan that could not only keep him in the series but return him to Yamaha machinery.

Rumours have emerged of a plot to place Lorenzo in the Marc VDS team on Yamaha machinery, running a factory-spec bike under satellite guise. Already linked to Monster sponsorship as they split form the KTM-bound Tech 3 team, it could well be the perfect solution not only for Dorna and for Lorenzo but also for Yamaha.

There’s also been further rumours recently of the Sepang team’s involvement in the project. Initially linked to a satellite Yamaha deal as a way of keeping rookie sensation Hafizh Syahrin in the top class, Lorenzo’s huge popularity in the key South East Asian market would make him the perfect person to line up alongside the Malaysian rider.

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis seemed to suggest that it could be a possibility to field a factory-supported bike for Lorenzo if a satellite team slot was available to run it, simply telling Italian TV that it ‘could happen.’

Lorenzo also sounded more confident of his options than he has in recent weeks ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, telling media that he will be on the grid next year.

“What I can say today is that I will continue the next two years and I won’t retire, and I’ll be on a good bike. That’s all I can say for now but I guess you’ll hear more information at the next race.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer