Valencia Grand Prix will be the last race for Jorge Lorenzo as the five-time World Champion announced that he will retire from MotoGP. The Repsol Honda Team rider held a press conference alongside Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed that 2019 Valencia GP would be his last.
During the PC, Lorenzo, said “I always thought there are four significant days in the career of a rider. Your first race, your first win, your first championship and then the day you retire. I’m here to tell you this day has arrived for me. I want to announce this will be my last race in MotoGP, and that at the end of this race I will retire from professional racing.
Jorge Lorenzo: 18 years in the World Championship
The 32-year-old began to explain why he reached the decision to retire at the end of a difficult 2019 campaign. “Unfortunately, injuries soon came to play an important role in my season, being unable to ride in normal physical conditions. This, plus a bike that never felt natural to me, made my races very difficult. Anyway, I never lost the patience and I kept fighting, just thinking that was a simple matter of time and that after all things would get into the right place.
“But, as I started to see some light I had this bad crash in Montmelo test, and some weeks later that ugly one in Assen. At that point I had to admit, that when I stopped rolling into the gravel, the first thought that came into my mind was “what the hell I’m doing here? Is this really worth it? I’m done with it.” Some days later after reflecting a lot about my life and career, I decided to give it a try. I wanted to be sure I was not making an early decision.
“The truth is from that crash, the hill became too high for me, and even if I tried I couldn’t find the motivation and patience to be able to keep climbing it. You know, I love this sport, I love to ride, but above all things, I love to win. I understood, that if I’m not able to fight for something big, to fight for the title or at least to fight for victories, I cannot find the motivation to keep going especially at this stage of my career. I realised that my goal with Honda, at least in a short time, was not realistic. I have to say I feel very sorry for Honda, especially for Alberto, who really was the one who trusted me and gave me that opportunity.
“I remember that day in Montmelo when we meet and I told him “Don’t make a mistake signing the wrong rider Alberto, trust me and you will not regret”. very sadly, I have to say that I disappointed him, so I did to Takeo, Kuwata, Nomura San and all my team, who I have to say they always treated me in an exceptional way. However, I really feel this is the best decision for me and for the team, Jorge Lorenzo and Honda cannot be here just to score some points!”
Carmelo Ezpeleta reflects on 18 years of Grand Prix racing, 5 World Titles, and announcing he is to become a MotoGP™ Legend
Lorenzo also took a moment to sincerely thank all people whom has gave him support throughout his racing career and especially pointing out Carmelo and Dorna for the treatment and for making his MotoGP journey so great. Special thanks to Derbi, Aprilia, Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, specially Giampiero Sachi, Gigi Dalligna, Lin Jarvis and Alberto Puig and his my mother and father, for showing me the passion for this sport and all the sacrifice he has done for me during these years.
My fans and my fan club for the unconditional love through all these years. Thank you to all the people that work with me as a personal team, with special mention to Albert Valera, for being always honest and loyal. So, this is it, with all my heart, I really wish you all the best, professionally and personally. Thanks for everything.”
Following Lorenzo’s speech was a career highlights reel, with Ezpeleta then confirming ‘The Spartan’ will be inducted into the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame as a MotoGP™ Legend at the 2020 Spanish GP in Jerez. A fitting tribute to one of the greatest riders the MotoGP™ paddock has ever seen.
Lorenzo’s retirement speech in full:
“Thank you for attending this press conference, it really means a lot to me, it makes me very happy.
“I always thought that there are four significant days for a rider. The first is you first race, the second your first win and then your first world championship – not everyone can win a world championship but some of us made it – and then the day you retire.
“As you all imagine here, I am here to announce that this day has arrived for me. This will be my last race in MotoGP and after this race I will retire as a professional racer.
“Everything started when I was three years old, almost 30 years of complete dedication to my sport. People who work with me know how perfectionist I am, how much energy and intensity I have always put into my sport.
“This level of perfectionism requires a lot of motivation, that is why after nine years at Yamaha – so wonderful, probably the best years that I enjoyed in my career – I felt that I needed a change, if I wanted to keep this full commitment to my sport.
“That’s why I wanted to move to Ducati, it gave me a big boost of motivation and even though the results were very bad, I used the motivation to not give up and keep fighting until I achieved this beautiful Mugello victory in front of all the Ducati fans.
“Then later, when I signed to Honda, you gave me another big boost because I achieved something all riders dream of, to become HRC rider for Repsol Honda.
“Unfortunately, injuries came very soon to play an important part in my results and performance, so I wasn’t able to be in normal physical condition to be fast or competitive.
“This plus a bike that didn’t feel natural to me, gave me a lot of problems to be competitive like I want to be. Anyway, I never lost patience and keep working with the team thinking it was probably only a matter of time until everything came into the right place.
“Then when I was starting to see some light in the tunnel, the nasty crash at the Montmelo test happened. And then some days later I crashed again in this ugly Assen crash, which you know the consequences that created.
“I have to admit when I was rolling in the gravel and I stood up, I thought to myself ‘OK Jorge, is this really worth it?’ after what I’ve achieved, to keep suffering… I am done with it, I don’t want to race anymore.
“But then I came back home and decided to give it a try. I didn’t want to make any early decision. So I kept going. But the truth is from that moment the hill became so high and so big for me that I was not able to find the motivation, the patience to keep trying to climb this mountain.
“You all know, I love to ride, I love competition, I love this sport but above all I love to win. So I realised at some point this was not possible, in this short time with Honda. So…. [applause] at this stage of my career it was impossible for me to keep the motivation and my goal that I put into my mind at the beginning of the season was not realistic, in a short time.
“So I have to say I feel very sorry for Honda. Especially Alberto, who was the one who gave me this opportunity. I remember very well that day in Montmelo test, one of the first meetings I had with him, to start chatting about my move to Honda. And I said to him, ‘Alberto don’t make a mistake, signing the wrong rider! Trust me and you will not regret it’.
“Sadly, I have to say, I disappointed him. I disappointed Honda. Takeo [Yokoyama], [Tetsuhiro] Kuwata and Nomura-san [HRC president]. However I think this is the best decision for me and for the team because Honda and Jorge Lorenzo cannot fight to just score some points or even top five or podium, that I think could be possible with time. I think we are both winners that need to fight to win.
“So speaking a little bit more for happiness, coming back to my beautiful and successful career I always said that I’m a very lucky guy. Sometimes I feel a little bit like this movie ‘one in a billion’ that narrates the life of an Indian basketball player in the NBA.
“Because I raced against unbelievable riders of my generation and any of them could have achieved what I achieved. [but] they weren’t as successful as I am. And especially most of them didn’t even arrive into the world championship and had to go back to work in normal jobs. So I always felt very grateful.
“It’s true that I’ve been always a hard worker and made a lot of sacrifice but without being in the right place at the right time and especially without the help of many people, who helped me to achieve what I achieved, it would not have been possible.
“That’s why I’m also here to thank everyone for their help, especially Carmelo and Dorna for all the good treatment they always gave to me and especially to make this sport so great.
“Also all the factories that believe in me and signed me – Derbi, Aprilia, Yamaha, Ducati, Honda. Especially Giampeiro Sacchi, Gigi Dall’Igna, Lin Jarvis and Alberto Puig.
“Then obviously my mother for bringing me into this world. My father to transmit me this love for the bike and all help that he did. Juanito [mechanic] for his loyalty, staying with me all my career. My fans, my fan club, all the fans of MotoGP in general, who keep this sport as it is today.
“This is it. Thank you all for all the help. It was a pleasure to work with you and with all my heart I wish you all the best, all the luck, professionally and personally. Thanks a lot.”