It’s the worst kept secret in the MotoGP paddock right now, and the flat refusals to talk about it, by those involved, hasn’t helped the matter either. What are we ranting about? Jorge Lorenzo moving to Ducati Corse next year, of course.
There’s been so much smoke around this fire for the past two weeks, and it was obvious in the pre-event press conference that the MotoGP press was hungry for some confirmation to the speculation that has been circulating recently. We were sadly disappointed.
But, that hasn’t stopped more intrepid scribes from peddling around strongly supported rumor as fact, as virtually every MotoGP journalist expects Ducati Corse and Jorge Lorenzo to unveil their marriage when MotoGP lands in Europe next week.
As such, Lorenzo’s signing with Ducati will surely be announced ahead of the Spanish GP at Jerez, in order to maximize its exposure to the Spanish media, as well as the European press as a whole.
Rumors peg the contract as a two-year deal, with best guesses on salary being somewhere in the range of € 10-15 million per year. That’s a handsome sum for Ducati to be spending on Lorenzo, though it is far from a surprise.
Lorenzo’s competitiveness is assured while he is at Yamaha Racing, though there are a variety of incentives beyond money in a move to Ducati – one namely being achieving what Rossi could not with the Italian outfit. That, along with top contract terms, likely served to encourage the reigning champion down this path.
The move by Lorenzo will be tectonic, and will likely cause a cascade of rider signings as a result. The first casualty is expected to be Maverick Viñales (a move we consider likely, though not assured), who is widely thought to be moving from Suzuki to Yamaha to replace Lorenzo.
This would then leave a seat at Suzuki that will need to be filled, with plenty of names being offered. The ripples and the rumors extend outward from there, though we won’t add any more fuel to those fires by speculating further.
So, stay tuned MotoGP fans. The big news is almost here, and we expect it to come just in time so it is the only thing worth talking about on Thursday in Jerez.
Photo: © 2016 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved