With the matter of Andrea Dovizioso’s continuation resolved, all eyes in Team Ducati have turned towards Jorge Lorenzo. His majestic arrival to the Ducati box is ancient history. The signing of the multimillionaire that should have taken Borgo Panigale’s factory to the top of the championship has not only not fulfilled expectations, but has not even come close. And in this world where you are your results, his value has plummeted sharply. His continuation in the ranks of Ducati is in the air, very much up in the air; there are few who trust him.
The possibility of seeing Jorge in red next year basically depends on two things: one is performance and the other is economics…and we can say that both are going to be harsh. First, Lorenzo has to fulfill some sporting obligations and after that, accept certain economic conditions.
Few are the people in Ducati who have still faith in Jorge Lorenzo.
In the sporting aspect, the Spanish rider will have to demonstrate a high level of competitiveness and, above all, consistency in the next races. And what does that mean? I would say that means he at least needs to be on the podium. The feeling is that his performances in Mugello and Barcelona will determine whether or not to discuss the second part of the conditions for Lorenzo’s continuation: economics.
If the first requirement is complicated, the second is even more so. Ducati would offer Lorenzo conditions similar to those presented to Dovizioso two years ago. That is, a fixed “low” salary and bonuses depending on results. Jorge was signed and paid to win the title, but he has not even won a race. If he continues in Ducati he will have to accept the conditions that Andrea accepted two years ago. Dovizioso opted for them, and that is what Lorenzo should do if he intends to continue with Ducati.
This proposition that sounds so reasonable is at odds with the Spanish rider, who holds up his three-time MotoGP World Champion status to claim an economic status that is five or six times what Ducati would offer if he meets or exceeds the results requirement. Lorenzo has tired of repeating phrases such as: “In this championship there are two riders who make a difference when they are on an appropriate motorcycle: Márquez and me” or “The money that a team pays me I understand as the respect that team has towards my riding quality.” The opinions are completely contradictory, as you can see.
After 11 years in MotoGP on factory teams and well paid, the time has come for Lorenzo to bet on himself … as did Dovizioso two years ago and Rossi in 2013 with his return to Yamaha.
But Lorenzo has less and less room for maneuvering. Well, actually at this point he has nearly no room left. With the Suzuki option fading and the other factory bikes spoken for, where can Jorge go? Unless his manager has an ace up his sleeve, on the horizon of Lorenzo’s future, there are very black clouds. It sounds crazy to imagine Jorge Lorenzo closing his time in the World Championship. Just imagining it gives me chills, but as things are, that possibility is on the table.
The only option is a drastic change of approach. After 11 years in MotoGP with certainly always with strong contracts, the time has come for Lorenzo to bet on himself. With the current balance in his bank account with many digits—though probably not quite yet at the 100 million the Spaniard wants to make in MotoGP—the money should topic should move into the background. If he says he has a job to finish at Ducati and he is sure of himself, is not it time to make a bet? Andrea Dovizioso did it two years ago—signing an awards contract—and accepted it, as did Valentino Rossi on his return to Yamaha in 2013 … In any case, Lorenzo must first demonstrate that he is capable of being consistently competitive on the Desomosedici… and his time is drastically running out.