Three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo has called time on his glittering career at the end of his worst season in grand prix racing.
Lorenzo joined Honda for 2019, but a season plagued by injury and difficulties in adapting to the RC213V meant he has not even scored a top 10 finish so far.
After ultimately committing to Honda for next year having made contact with Ducati about a potential return, Lorenzo’s continued spiralling form led to rumours he would retire at the end of this season.
On Thursday at Valencia, Dorna called an exceptional press conference for the Honda rider, who duly announced his retirement.
“I’ve always thought there are four significant days in the life of a rider – the first one is when it’s your first race, the second one is your first win, then your first world championship – not everyone can win the world championship, but some of us made it,” Lorenzo said.
“And then [there’s] the day you retire.
“As you all imagine here, I’m here to announce that this day has arrived for me.
“This will be my last race in MotoGP and at the end of the race I will retire as a professional racer.”
Lorenzo made his grand prix debut in the 125cc class when he was just 15 in 2002, and took his maiden win the following year in Brazil.
He added to his tally of victories with three more on the way to fourth in the standings, before stepping up to the 250cc class in 2005.
Though he managed six podiums, Lorenzo’s often wild temperament led to him being banned from that year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Lorenzo won back-to-back 250cc crowns in 2006 and ’07 before stepping up to MotoGP in ’08 with Yamaha, which was a deal signed two years prior.
Taking pole for his debut in Qatar, Lorenzo took his first win in Portugal in a season interrupted by numerous injury problems.
He challenged team-mate Valentino Rossi for the title in 2009, with the pair’s rivalry grabbing headlines as Lorenzo looked to upset the established order.
He locked horns with Rossi again in 2010, but a broken leg for the Italian early in the season gave Lorenzo a prime opportunity to seal his first MotoGP crown – which he did with a race to spare in Malaysia.
Lorenzo would beat Dani Pedrosa to the 2012 MotoGP title, and engaged in a season-long battle with Rossi again in ’15 to wrap up his third MotoGP championship – making him the only rider to have dethroned Marc Marquez since he joined the class in ’13.
In 2017 Lorenzo moved to Ducati after nine years at Yamaha, and though he struggled to adapt to the Desmosedici in that first year, he went onto win three races in ’18 and likely would have added to that had it not been for a late-season wrist injury.
A winner of 68 grands prix, including 47 in MotoGP, and a five-time champion in total, Lorenzo will end his career as one of motorcycle racing’s great riders regardless of his 2019 nadir.