Lorenzo Named Factory Yamaha Test Rider

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Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo, shown here in 2016, has returned to Yamaha as a test rider. (Yamaha Photo)

GERNO DI LESMO, Italy – Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Yamaha Motor Racing have announced that three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo will serve as a test rider this season.

Lorenzo is not only a big name in the MotoGP paddock but also a widely celebrated Yamaha rider. He made his debut in MotoGP with Yamaha in 2008 and spent nine years with the Factory MotoGP Team, winning all three of his MotoGP titles on the YZR-M1 in 2010, ’12 and ’15, respectively.

“I‘m very happy with the decision to join the Yamaha Factory Test Team,” said Lorenzo. “I was always planning on staying involved in MotoGP and returning to the paddock, and I think this is a suitable role for me. I know the team and the M1 well. The Yamaha really suited my riding style, and it will be very interesting to ’meet up with my old bike again‘.

“Returning to Yamaha brings with it some good memories. We secured many podiums and victories, and three titles together, so we know where our strengths lie. I want to thank Yamaha for this opportunity, because this allows me to do what I love – riding motorbikes and pushing the limit – whilst enjoying a slightly calmer lifestyle than I did in previous years.

“I‘m very motivated to get to work and can‘t wait to start riding. I want to do my best for Yamaha‘s future, and I hope my riding experience will be helpful to Yamaha‘s engineers and riders to bring the title back to Yamaha.

Starting with the MotoGP shakedown test on Feb. 2-4 in Sepang, Malaysia, Lorenzo will ride the YZR-M1. He will also take part in other official IRTA Tests and some private Yamaha tests this year, with the aim to help Yamaha‘s engineers with MotoGP development. He will be supported in his search for innovation by Silvano Galbusera, who will be crew chief for Lorenzo in the Yamaha Factory Racing Test Team.

“Of course, we are delighted to welcome Jorge back at Yamaha,” said Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Motor Racing managing director. “When we knew that Jorge would stop his active racing career, we immediately started to consider making a proposal for him to join us.

“The statistics of his achievements with us in those nine years together speak for themselves. He is a vastly experienced MotoGP rider, who is closely familiar with the M1 and the people at Yamaha. We have come to know Jorge as a very precise and motivated rider, with flawless consistency and good technical insight: all the qualities you need in a test rider at this high level.

“Combining Jorge‘s experience, knowledge, and riding speed with experienced Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera is an important element in Yamaha‘s strategy to strengthen the Test Team, which aims to bridge the gap between the engineers and test riders in Japan and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team.”

Lorenzo is not expected to compete in any MotoGP events as a wild card rider this year, but the opportunity is available should he decide to race again.