The worst kept secret in the MotoGP paddock has finally been let out: Jorge Lorenzo will make the move to Ducati starting in 2017. Both Ducati and Yamaha released statements today, the former announcing it had reached an agreement with the Spanish rider, the latter confirming that Lorenzo would be parting ways with the Japanese marque whom he started his MotoGP career with in 2008. While we don’t know the exact reasons Lorenzo decided to make the move, I offered up 10 reasons of my own last week.
Neither press release offered much information other than what was stated above. Ducati did not announce which of the Andreas currently on the Ducati Factory team would move aside next year to accommodate Lorenzo, though the news certainly has put a fire under both of them to outperform the other this year. Meanwhile, Yamaha did not announce who would replace the 2015 MotoGP champion and team up alongside Valentino Rossi. Current Ecstar Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales is hotly rumored to be the chosen one to fill the vacancy, though nothing has been confirmed.
The MotoGP silly season rumor mill was spinning in full force even before the 2016 season started, as Yamaha gave both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo contract extensions before the start of the season opener at Qatar. Rossi was quick to sign the extension, but Lorenzo held out, igniting the rumors of his departure. With Lorenzo’s fate for the next two years now decided, the pieces of the silly season puzzle will now start to fall as the other riders and manufacturers jockey over who will end up where next year and beyond.