Iannone expecting Lorenzo to join Ducati

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Factory Ducati rider Andrea Iannone has said he fully expects Jorge Lorenzo to join him at Ducati next season. 

Reports last week suggested Lorenzo was very close to signing a deal to partner Iannone in the Factory Ducati garage next season. Lorenzo’s manager Albert Valera flew over from Europe, with speculation to finalise a deal, with rumours of a verbal agreement already in place.

When asked about his future on Thursday, Lorenzo refused to deny the rumours, instead just reiterating his comments from Argentina that nothing has been signed.

If, and when Lorenzo signs his contract with Ducati, it is widely expected that he will partner Andrea Iannone. Iannone finished ahead of Dovizioso in the World Championship last season. Despite a tough start to the 2016 season – which included taking both himself and his team-mate out of a net second and third position in the final corner in Argentina – Iannone is widely expected to be retained for 2017.

Iannone has said that he doesn’t know if anything has been signed between Ducati and Lorenzo, but that he fully expects the Spaniard to be a Factory Ducati rider next season.

“For me, Jorge will come to Ducati. I don’t know whether he has signed or not, but to me, he is coming to Ducati,” the Italian said whilst speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca.

If he does end up partnering Lorenzo next season, Iannone said he would be very happy as his riding style would benefit from any changes Lorenzo would bring, something that he doesn’t currently benefit from with Dovizioso.

“If he comes and I’m at Ducati with him, I think it would be a very good team because we have very similar riding styles, something that has never happened with Dovizioso. Andrea has a very different style to mine and, therefore, often to get a good set-up or to pursue an opening we take different paths,” explained ‘the Maniac’.

“Instead, to have a person who rides similar to you, it would definitely help you a lot. He is a stronger rider than I am. He has done better than me over the years, so maybe I can learn some things from him.

“So this is very positive for me. But all this is ‘yes,’ ‘if,’ ‘if,’ we don’t know. If so, I’ll be happy.”

Lorenzo is expected to make a decision on his future at his home round of Jerez in two weeks time. 

 

Lorenzo: Today the important thing was to finish and I did it

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After crashing out of last weekends Argentine Grand Prix, Jorge Lorenzo knew that gaining twenty World Championship points today could prove valuable in November.

Lorenzo flew off from second place on the line, however an uncharacteristically scruffy opening couple of laps saw the Spaniard behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. Lorenzo disposed of Dovizioso pretty quickly, but it was too late to catch Marquez, with the Spaniard edging away from Lorenzo to eventually take the victory by a little over six seconds.

When Lorenzo realised Marquez wasn’t going to face any issues with his soft front tyre, he decided that the most important thing was to finish the race with twenty points, especially after crashes in Argentina and in morning warm-up.

“It was really important to finish the race and get 20 points after crashing at high speed in the morning, it was really difficult mentally to focus,” explained the World Champion.

“I tried in warm up and through the few hours before the race to focus and convince myself for the race.”

After making the mistakes on the opening laps, Lorenzo knew that he couldn’t match Marquez’ times, let alone better them. It was at this point he decided to settle for second place, ensuring he maintained his gap back to third placed Andrea Iannone.

“It was a difficult beginning, the track was slippery and with the hard rear tyre and the full tank it was difficult to stop especially on braking. I made some mistakes I don’t normally do in the first lap,” he said.

“I couldn’t keep the pace of Marc, he was making the difference this weekend and in the race. I was fast enough to stay in second place and finish the race.

“You could see it was difficult to stay on the bike with a lot of crashes. Today the important thing was to finish and I did it.”

Photos via Movistar Yamaha

The post Lorenzo: Today the important thing was to finish and I did it appeared first on GPxtra.

Jorge Lorenzo closing in on Ducati switch

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MYMm_0579_T03_Lorenzo_2016 (1)MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo looks set to leave Yamaha at the end of the 2016 MotoGP season and move to Ducati.

The reports coming from Spain have intensified in the past week, with Marca, AS and Mediaset reporting that the deal between Lorenzo and Ducati is 99% complete, with a verbal agreement in place. 

The missing 1% could also get completed this weekend, with Lorenzo’s manager Albert Valera, who wasn’t in Argentina has flown to Austin with talks ramping up, suggesting both Lorenzo and Ducati are ready to get the deal completed before the paddock head back to Europe. 

Whilst both the Spanish media, and sources GPxtra have spoken to have stressed that nothing has been signed yet, the sheer presence of Valera would suggest that Ducati talks are progressing. 

Ducati haven’t been shy in admitting they have an interest in Lorenzo and have done for many years, however it was Giacomo Agostini who revealed that Ducati had offered the three-time MotoGP World Champion a “super offer” from Ducati on the table. Whilst no figure can be agreed upon, it is thought to be anywhere between twelve to eighteen million euros a season. 

Whilst Lorenzo and Yamaha haven’t fallen out of love with each other, Lorenzo is thought to still a little disillusioned with how Yamaha have treated both him and Rossi. Lorenzo wanted to know he was Yamaha’s number one rider, and whether that was in a financial sense or a promotional one, he hasn’t felt it. Conversely Yamaha have signed a deal with Rossi for suppling bikes to “the Ranch” and in the off-season signed a deal with the VR46 clothing company, too. 

The decision to move to Ducati for Lorenzo isn’t just a financial one. Lorenzo has been impressed with the huge progress Ducati have made in recent seasons under the stewardship of Gigi Dall’Igna. Dall’Igna has turned the Desmosedici into a genuine podium challenging bike and in the right hands, maybe more. Lorenzo also has a strong relationship with Dall’Igna from their days in 250’s. Dall’Igna was then overseeing the Aprilia operation that saw the Spaniard claim back-to-back 250cc World Championships in 2006 and 2007. 

Should Lorenzo sign on the dotted line and end his nine-year relationship with Yamaha, they will waste little time in targeting Maverick Viñales to replace the World Champion.

Viñales has been a revelation in 2016, building on an impressive rookie season, “Mack” has shown himself to be a genuine superstar in just pre-season testing and the first two rounds of 2016. Viñales’ contract situation with Suzuki is slightly less straightforward, with the Spaniard having the option to opt-out of his contract prior to it’s third and final year, although with certain clauses to be acknowledged. 

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Ducati: We never denied being interested in the top riders

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Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti has confssed Ducati never denied being interested in the “top riders”, after speculation emerged in Argentina that Ducati may have already signed Jorge Lorenzo ahead of the 2017 MotoGP season.

The Bologna brand have been interested in Lorenzo since 2009 and their pursuit this year has been made very public after MotoGP legend Giacomo Agostini confessing to know of a “super offer” on the table from Ducati thought to be as high as 18 million euros per season. 

Lorenzo has an offer on the table from his current Factory Yamaha team, however unlike his Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, Lorenzo has not yet extended his deal with Yamaha, leading to the speculation amongst the paddock that a deal has already been struck between Lorenzo and Ducati. 

The Spaniard’s interest in Ducati is understandable. Lorenzo would become the highest paid rider in MotoGP, whilst allure of winning on a second manufacturer – a bike Rossi failed to win on – is now a viable option with Ducati. 

Along with Lorenzo, Marc Marquez’ contract is up in the winter, and having MotoGP World Champions still in the peak of their powers considering offers from Ducati, show that they’re going in the right direction, according the Ciabatti.

 

Lorenzo wants to keep his future plans private… for the time being

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Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has kept his cards close to his chest when asked about his MotoGP future.

The 28-year-old Spaniard has two contracts on the table. He has a two-year contract extension from his current Factory Movistar Yamaha team, an offer Lin Jarvis called “the best of his racing career”. He also has a monster contract, thought to be in the region of around 17 million euros a season from Ducati, making Lorenzo stop and take notice of the offer. 

Lorenzo’s team-mate Valentino Rossi signed a two-year contract extension at Movistar Yamaha prior to the first Grand Prix of the season in Qatar two weeks ago, offering Lorenzo a contract early in anticipation of an approach from Ducati.

Despite saying on multiple occasions in the past that he wants to resign and eventually retire with Yamaha, the Ducati offer is clearly considering the Ducati challenge. The money is a head turner, but the prospect of winning on a second bike, and a Ducati at that, would cement Lorenzo’s legacy as a MotoGP rider, something he is clearly thinking about. 

Just last week Lorenzo revealed he hoped to make a decision on his future before the first European round of the season in Jerez in three weeks time, something he reiterated once again today in Argentina.

“The situation for me is more or less the same as Qatar,” said the Majorcan.

“For now we have to concentrate on these two races that are very important. For the moment, we haven’t had victorious here, not in Argentina and not in Austin.”

“To be honest I don’t want to say too much more. I want to keep this private with my people and I will decide in the next few weeks. I don’t want to say too much more,” added the five-time World Champion. 

Despite further prompts in Spanish, Lorenzo declined to comment about his future, leading to Ducati to genuinely beleives they have a chance to securing the man they have coveted since 2010.

 

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