Jorge Lorenzo calls press conference, is he readying retirement call?

Jorge Lorenzo calls a press conference ahead of the final MotoGP round of 2019 at Valencia amid talk he is readying a big announcement...

Jorge Lorenzo - Repsol Honda

UPDATE: Jorge Lorenzo confirms his retirement from MotoGP - READ FULL STORY HERE

An ‘exceptional’ press conference has been called ahead of the Valencia MotoGP event involving Jorge Lorenzo and MotoGP director Carmelo Ezpeleta raising speculation he is set to either announce his departure from HRC Honda or he is retiring from the sport altogether.

The three-time MotoGP World Champion is one of the sport’s most decorated racers but is enduring the worst season of his career on the back of a move from Ducati to the works Honda team.

Hampered by a series of injuries over the past twelve months and a struggle to get comfortable on the Honda RC213V, though Lorenzo has repeatedly spoken of his desire to see out his two-year contract at HRC to the end of 2020.

However, with recovery still an ongoing issue and HRC becoming impatient with results that has seen him score just 25 points to Marquez’s 395 points. Such is the gulf, Repsol Honda could still lose the team’s title in 2019 to Ducati despite Marquez holding a 139 point advantage over any other rider.

As such, talk over Lorenzo’s decision to retire has gathered pace again in recent weeks, despite his own firm assertions as recently as Phillip Island that it wasn’t on the cards.

Alternatively, Lorenzo could announce a year out from racing to fully recover from his injuries with a view to returning in 2021, though this will certainly not be with the Honda team.

A year out of MotoGP or retirement for Jorge Lorenzo?

While this could be a ruse – such as a corner being named after him – the special circumstances of the press conference, which will take place before the usual pre-event gathering, suggests a big reveal is on the cards.

Retirement seems to be on the mind of many as Lorenzo’s catalogue of injuries – if he is to be believed – have left him compromised on a racing bike.

If Lorenzo feels his injuries can be recovered from with the benefit of an extended time out, then a year out of racing also makes sense – potentially testing with Honda to fulfil his contractual obligations. The Spaniard is still one of MotoGP’s most accomplished racers and with the cycle of new contracts coming for 2021, he will certainly be an interesting attraction to some teams.

Then again, time out from the paddock could also work against him and it seems like a long time since we’ve seen Lorenzo battling with Marquez regardless of the machine. Will a team want to take a risk on the back of this season?

Either way, one could imagine Honda has been the driving force behind whatever decision Lorenzo makes regarding his future. The sheer gulf in performance has been hard to ignore all season, injury or otherwise, while Lorenzo’s performances were put into stark perspective by Johann Zarco’s immediate pace on the LCR Honda, albeit on a 2018-specification machine.

With a fully-fit, successfully and presumably competitive waiting in the wings, Honda has a very worthy replacement waiting in the wings in Zarco and it looks prepared to act.

The press conference takes place at 15.00 CET (14.00 UK time)