Ahead of this weekend’s Austrian GP, there’s been one question on the lips of MotoGP fans, journalists and racers alike. Is Jorge Lorenzo about the make a return to Ducati? And during the pre-event Press Conference, Miller, Marquez and Rossi had their say on the rumours swirling around the paddock.
Current Ducati Pramac Racing rider Jack Miller – who is still waiting to finalise contract details with Pramac for next season – was asked what he thought was going on, and admitted that there’s some truth to the rumours about Lorenzo’s potential switch.
“I thought we were waiting on paperwork but clearly that’s not the case, there might be something else behind it I don’t know yet. We’ll see once Jorge comes back from the Maldives or wherever he is now, and we’ll find out what I’m doing. At the minute, I’m just trying to do the best I can do, I’m not stressed. I feel if I keep riding like I am, I’ll be here next year and we’ll just see where.
“The last I heard prior to this weekend was that we were deciding… coming up with a budget let’s say because me and Pecco will have a 2020 bike so I understood and we were quite patient – but we will see now. I didn’t at all (speak about the Lorenzo to Pramac rumour) prior to this weekend but after some feedback I had there’s some truth behind the rumours. As I said Pramac want to keep me, I had a facetime call with Paolo this morning and he is 100% certain to keep me so we need to understand what we need to do to finalise the contract. I am very happy with the team I’m in and I would love to continue this relationship. That is my number one goal but for sure if we cannot do this then we have to look elsewhere and at the moment there are no other options really.”
Lorenzo’s Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez was also asked about Lorenzo’s potential move to Pramac Racing – and suggested that he thinks he should focus on proving himself on the Honda. He said: “What I know is that Jorge has one more year with Honda. Jorge is Jorge and what he says is that ‘he’s not a great rider he’s a champion’ and if he’s a champion, he’s on a championship-winning bike so he needs to come back and show his potential with a Honda bike and be on the top with Honda. And with his ego and his ambition, he will try to do this, because if not it won’t arrive on his ambition or dream. When you arrive at a project with HRC, it’s because you want to win races and fight for the Championship.”
And finally, Lorenzo’s former Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi shared his surprise at the rumours surround Lorenzo. He said: “For sure it’s a surprise for everybody to hear about the Ducati. If you speak about the track situation, the results have some sense because Jorge has a lot of problems with the Honda. Last year he was strong with the Ducati, after he has some crashes and some unlucky or injury but he arrives with good speed, but from this point of view it has sense. I don’t know if it’s true, but Lorenzo is with factory Honda.
“I think he can ride this bike in some way, maybe he has to modify something but he was also very unlucky because the first injury with the flat track bike before the first test, that was a disaster for him because he arrived already injured and that part of the season is crucial because you can have six days riding without the pressure of the weekend. He doesn’t make the test and when you arrive at the race weekend everything is more difficult because you don’t have time, you have to push. Every time he crashed and he’s more injured. It’s a difficult situation at the moment but he is with factory Honda so, with a bit more time, he can be competitive.”
At this stage, it’s all speculation – and only time will tell whether Miller or Lorenzo ends up in the Pramac Racing seat for 2020. Never mind all that though. There’s some top racing action coming from Austria over the next few days. To keep up to date with all the latest news, click HERE.