So this is the third day of the pre-test test (with the two-day test at Sepang happening later this week) but it’s also the first day Lorenzo has been out on the factory Yamaha in his role as test rider. And check this out – he’s gone and bagged the second-best time of the day, with only Pol Espargaro managing to go better.
Now, we need to put some perspective on this and whilst that’s an impressive start, the likes of Rossi, Quatararo, Vinales and the Marquez boys aren’t yet out in any serious anger. That’ll come on Feb 7 and 8 and that’s when we can get a better gauge of where Lorenzo’s pace actually is in the bigger scheme of things.
But what we do know is that Jorge’s quickest time of the 46 laps (surely that’s a coincidence, right? It’s Rossi’s number… surely there’s nothing in that, is there… nah…) was 2m 00.503s and we CAN compare that to his best time at the Malaysian GP last year when he was on the Honda – 2m 00.478. That’s mightily impressive. Espargaro’s best was 1m 59.440 on the all-new KTM – two tenths faster than the race record.
And now there’s talk bubbling up in the Spanish press of if/when Lorenzo will return to competition in 2020, as part of a ‘few’ cherry-picked races as he sees fit. The Spaniards are saying that the Catalan GP on June 7 looks most likely for a first outing. It gives Lorenzo lots of time dialling in the bike, it’s his local round (so BIG ticket sales on the back of his return) and on June 8 at the track is another full test day, so some serious work can be done after a proper race weekend for evaluation of the bike at race pace.
What do you reckon? Would you like to see Jorge Lorenzo back in the mix? Do you think he could be competitive again? Is this all a master-stroke by Yamaha to put Lorenzo and Rossi back together in the same team for 2021 and run them separately on factory machinery as an ‘old timer’ squad with 14 world titles between them?
All that stuff above, cool as fudge. If it happens.