It’s been going around the paddock and the rumour mill for a few weeks now that the reigning World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo is off to join Ducati and now its said we will finally hear all about it in just under a week’s time as the pre race press conferences ahead of round four of the Championship in Jerez.
After Valentino Rossi announced that he had committed to staying with the factory Yamaha squad for the next two seasons, much earlier than expected a few weeks ago, it seemed to just accelerate everyone else into announcing moves or bringing rumours to the fore much sooner than usual. Bradley Smith announced his move to KTM from Tech 3, the focus moved to whether Dani Pedrosa be ousted from his long term seat at Repsol Honda.. But, Lorenzo to Ducati has been the one which has undoubtedly brought the most chatter.
Why would the Spaniard move to ride a bike which only Casey Stoner has been able to tame? Stoner handled the Desmosedici majestically, winning the title in 2007 for the Bologna based factory and now with him back in the fold testing the red machine maybe they see the Aussie as the man to show Lorenzo the way forward is with Ducati?
Now it may seem a little churlish to suggest that a MotoGP World Champion would need assistance but since Ducati brought the snarling Desmo to the class in 2003 only Stoner brought them success whilst a number of world class riders tried and failed to harness it’s power. Loris Capirossi, Troy Bayliss, Nicky Hayden, Carlos Checa, Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi all failed to bring more title winning silverware whilst riding the Desmosidici.
Ducati’s owners, Audi, seem to have a very aggressive policy now for their sister company. They want the man who, aside from Marc Marquez, has been the most successful rider in recent seasons. They know it would take a HUGE payday to prise Lorenzo from the team who has taken him to three MotoGP titles but they seem more than prepared to open the chequebook. Journalist, David Emmett tweeted yesterday to say that Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis will be at the pre race press conference in Spain confirming the number 99 will be on a different bike next season, obviously we will have to wait until next week but it’s becoming increasingly likely with every passing day.
Even Jarvis himself said: “With each additional day of the bidding which he does not decide to accept our offer it reduces our chances with Jorge to stay. And there have already been many days gone.”
Lorenzo’s riding style exudes smoothness, he’s described as metronomic by many, there’s no doubt that he’s one of the most precise riders that there has ever been. But there’s just something about that red bike that doesn’t seem to bring the best out in a rider. While it is the fastest machine on the grid it only seems to really come to the fore when the track is wet on race day at least. To see the Ducati win the title again would be a real shot in the arm for the Championship, Yamaha and Honda have monopolised the class since that 2007 title win for Stoner.
If there was any doubt (and there shouldn’t be) about Lorenzo’s stock not being as high as that of Marquez, would moving to the Bologna factory and winning the title hoist him arguably to the top table of riders who have graced our sport? Undoubtedly so. And I for one would love to see it happen and it seems we won’t have to wait long to find out the truth.