With 3 MotoGP World Championship titles under his belt, Jorge Lorenzo is one of the most famous names in the recent history of motorcycle racing. His success was born from a life dedicated from an early age, and using the best motorcycle tires provided by the most accomplished manufacturers around only helped him climb higher on the all-time top of motorcycle racing.
A total of 65 wins place him on the 5th place in this top, and it is only natural that fans of the sport still speak fondly of him even if he is currently retired. Starting with January 2021, he is a test driver for the Yamaha team in Europe.
A tiny champion in the making
Spain has been known to give the world many competitive motorcycle racers, and Jorge Lorenzo is, currently, one of the most prominent names famous worldwide. Born in Palma, a town located on the island of Mallorca, he was a precocious and talented rider, managing to impress his family.
It is not unusual for successful motorcycle racers to climb on a bike at an early age, but Lorenzo is above many since his first encounter with this type of vehicle was at the early age of only 3 years old. It wasn’t a regular bike or one bought from a story. His father made it, using parts he removed from used bikes.
From that point forward, Lorenzo knew what the passion of his life would be. He would take part in many mini cross races, and when he was 8 years old, he scored a win in the Balearic competition. It happened in 1995, and it must be noted that other participants in the race were older than him.
After that, the tiny champion in the making scored win after win, advancing to junior motocross after a while. His first national competition participation was in 1997. The next year, at only 11 years old, he won the 50cc competition in the Aprilia Cup race.
His success in the 125cc and 250cc championships
It was clear as day that Lorenzo had a bright future before him, which is why in 2002, he made his debut at the 125cc Spanish Grand Prix. It was a stroke of luck for him since he needed to be 15 years old to participate in the race, and his birthday fell on the second day of qualifications. In 2003, Lorenzo finished first in the 12th round of the championship that took place in Rio de Janeiro for the same category. Overall, his score was decent, and he placed 12th on the leaderboard.
From there, he advanced to the 250cc category, and in 2006, he had his first participation in this type of championship. He was part of the Aprilia team, and it was definitely an excellent season for him since he snatched the World Champion title with 8 wins. The intermediate class years were very fruitful for Lorenzo.
The next year, he got 9 pole positions and scored 9 wins, so he was again the champion, although other talented racers like Dani Pedrosa and Sito Pons also took part in the competition. This success also brought him a personal record; at the time, he was the most successful racer to come from Spain in this class.
A rocky start in the MotoGP World Championship
Other rewarding records awaited the young rider. With such a stellar evolution under his belt, it was clear as day that major teams would want to have him on board. In 2007, he became part of the Yamaha team, and, together with Valentino Rossi, he took part in the 2008 MotoGP competition. Even if the season had ups and downs for him, he managed some impressive wins.
The first race, he came in second, and on the 3rd, at Estoril, he scored his first win. He was the youngest racer ever to climb the podium during the first 3 races. However, the rest of the season was not that good for Lorenzo. He suffered injuries several times, and that prevented him from scoring better on the leaderboard. Forced to miss one race completely, he came in 4th at the end of the season. His teammate, Valentino Rossi, was the winner that year.
The gap between the two competitive teammates would shrink the next year, but Rossi surpassed him once more. For a while, it was believed that Lorenzo would manage to snatch the title, but after a glorious start, Rossi ended the season with 2 more wins. Lorenzo also suffered some crashes and injuries during his second season with Yamaha.
The golden era – 2010-2015
Although Ducati offered him 15 million dollars to ride for its team, Lorenzo chose to remain with Yamaha, an intelligent decision that would bring him the first MotoGP title in his career. 2010 was an excellent season for Lorenzo, who accumulated points after points by ending up on the podium in most races. While his position was not always solid, the racer who was closest to surpassing him had to miss 2 races because of an injury.
The 2011 championship found him 4 times on the podium in 5 races. However, during the 6th round, he suffered a crash, and he couldn’t finish it. That year, the title went to Casey Stoner, and Lorenzo was in 2nd place. It was a tough season for him, as he went through a crash that injured him severely, causing him to lose the tip of one finger. A surgical intervention followed, and surgeons reattached the severed part of his ring finger.
Perseverance surely paid off in Lorenzo’s case, as he won the next year’s championship. It was probably his best season ever as he finished in 1st and 2nd places in most races, something that put him clearly in the lead. Satisfied with his evolution for the Yamaha team, he decided to extend the contract with 2 more years.
Another legend of the sport, Marc Márquez, prevented him from winning the 2013 season. His conational rode for Honda and scored a very tight win since only 4 points were between them at the end of the competition. His performance throughout the season, while stellar, was no match for Marc Márquez.
The next year, he would come in 3rd, with Marc Márquez winning the season once more. Lorenzo still managed some impressive wins and climbed the podium several times, but that wasn’t enough to eliminate the gap between him and the champion.
An exciting year for Lorenzo would be 2015 when he faced the fiercest competition in Valentino Rossi, his teammate at Yamaha. It was a tough win, the 3rd and last in his career as a MotoGP racer, at only 5 points from Rossi. Lorenzo ended the season on a high note as he scored a win in the final face. The race before that, Rossi didn’t manage to overcome him as he collided with Marc Márquez.
Decline and retirement
Lorenzo wouldn’t witness the same success as in his golden years at Yamaha during the following period. In 2016, he got the pole position in Qatar, but the next races would put him way behind Marc Márquez. It was during this time that he decided that he would change teams and ride for Ducati in 2017.
The 2016 season was not all bad, and Lorenzo managed to round up the total number of wins to 65. Also, he got on the podium in 2nd place. The switch to Ducati, however, was not all that Lorenzo wanted it to be. 2017 was a winless season for him, and he came in 7th at the end of the championship.
2018 proved even worse, and Lorenzo suffered several crashes and injuries that would put aside any hopes that he would climb the podium again. It also appeared that he had a tough time adjusting to Ducati bikes, and that might have played a significant role in his decline.
Due to all these problems, he decided to join the Honda team in 2019. Although he seemed to evolve much better under the flag of his new team, a severe crash that ended with the fracture of a vertebra determined his decision to retire. He made the announcement during a press conference held during the last race weekend.
At the age of 32, Lorenzo decided to withdraw from competitive racing. Still, he remains connected to the sport, as a test driver for Yamaha, the same team with which he managed to score the highest achievements of his career.