Today's news is Jorge Lorenzo's retirement. The spotlight is on the Majorcan at Valencia who, after announcing his decision during a special press conference, spoke to Sky journalists Guido Meda and Antonio Boselli.
“Of course I thank everyone who has supported me over the years, as well as everyone here at Valencia today - begins #99 – there's a part of me that's sad at having to leave racing, as this has been my world for so many years, becoming a sort of family. At the same time, there's another part of me that now feels more free. In the end, I've done what I loved, or rather race, for a long time and on Monday I'll start to think about my future”.
There is of course regret as we consider a grid without Jorge come 2020.
“Without the Assen crash, I would have continued for another year. The fact is that, after that accident, I no longer had the motivation to give it my all and the moment I lost that motivation was key for me. After Assen, I was able to talk to Puig, and I told him that I might have found the motivation to get back to being 100% but in the end that wasn't the case”.
Another moment contributed to the Majorcan's eventual decision.
“I was also able to talk to Marc and Cal in recent months, and they told me the new 2020 bike wouldn't offer any big improvements with respect to the current one. My 2020 season would have been very long".
One experience that remains on the Majorcan's mind is his time in Ducati. A pity that farewell came too soon.
“Ducati? It's easy to say certain things after the event. We each make decisions in life and these can turn out to be right or wrong. If I'd won before Mugello, maybe my adventure with Ducati would have turned out differently. Deep down, I wanted to stay with Ducati and win the title. 2018 was a complicated year, as I would start the race strong but then couldn't keep it up to the line. They'd already made their decision before Mugello though, but there are no regrets about leaving Ducati".
The Majorcan turns to the more recent Honda experience.
“On a personal level, they've always treated me very well. Alberto Puig was the first to believe in me. He has always supported me and understood, especially in tough times. The same goes for Takeo, who always told me to remember I'm Lorenzo. The fact is that the 2019 bike didn't suit my qualities.”
How about Marquez?
“Marc has won with this bike, he takes priority and they of course follow him. I was the point of reference in Yamaha and Ducati in the past, but not in Honda. The manufacturer focuses on him, and rightly so, as he's the most successful. I think that Marc could win with any bike, though the Honda is the one that best suits his style”.
There is mention of Valentino Rossi, his Yamaha team-mate for many years.
“Rossi and I love each other when we're far apart– he jokes - when we're together, things change. I think it's normal, as when we were in Yamaha together we both wanted to fight for the win and so the rivalry between us was only natural”.
Lorenzo also talks about his life away from the track.
“I'm a person with many passions. Inside, I think I'm tough, perhaps not very sensitive. And I don't like being alone. At the same time, I'd say I'm honest and transparent. If something's not working with someone, I like to have it out, I'm not scared to voice my opinion, even if it's not the same as everyone else's”.
It will definitely be strange not to see Lorenzo on the grid next season.
“Right now, I see my decision to stop as a definitive one, but you should never say never in life. I am 99% sure of my decision to stop, though there's that 1%... Fears? I don't know. My life will change as of Monday of course, I'll definitely be calmer and more relaxed than I've been recently”.