Lorenzo reveals Aprilia bid, says it couldn’t afford ‘to hire a World Champion'

Jorge Lorenzo says Aprilia approached him about a race ride for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship but says it 'couldn't invest to hire a World Champion'

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo has confirmed Aprilia approached him over the prospect of hiring him for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship but says the manufacturer ‘didn’t want to invest to hire a World Champion’.

Lorenzo hasn’t competed in MotoGP since the conclusion of the 2019 season when a troubled injury-ridden season with Repsol Honda led to him announcing his retirement from the sport.

The Spaniard proceeded to rejoin Yamaha - the manufacturer with which he won his three MotoGP World Championships - for 2020 but the combination of restricted testing opportunities, no opportunity for wildcard outings and apparent concerns over his fitness meant he barely turned a wheel on the M1 all year.

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Replaced at Yamaha by Cal Crutchlow, Lorenzo has been a free agent since and has subsequently said he is unlikely to be seeking a return to the sport in any capacity now.

However, he says there was one option of a racing return for 2021 with Aprilia, who approached him with a view to replacing the suspended Andrea Iannone. However, while Lorenzo was only interested in taking on a development role, he says it couldn’t meet his wage demands.

“There was contact with Massimo Rivola,” quotes Speedweek. “He's been a good friend of mine since he was at Ferrari. 

“They wanted me as a rider, but I wanted to start there more as a test driver. In the end, they didn't want to invest so much to hire a world champion as a test driver. 

“Hiring a driver like me is definitely more expensive. In the end we didn't come to an agreement. "

Will Jorge Lorenzo ever return to MotoGP?

Never say never but the chances are looking rather slim for one of MotoGP’s most successful and colourful of characters.

The Spaniard certainly doesn’t mince his words, as demonstrated by the recent creation of his 99 Seconds vlog in which he passes critique on all riders after each race weekend, but his value as a racer has dipped on the back of a somewhat fractious split with Yamaha during which there was suggestions he had kept up with his fitness in his time off the bike.

His comments confirm earlier rumours that Aprilia had scouted him, though at the time it was thought to only be a development role in a similar vein to Dani Pedrosa at KTM.

Though there may be some eye-rolling at Lorenzo’s comments about wage demands, it should be noted that Aprilia is understood to operate on a much smaller budget that other manufacturers, with Aleix Espargaro making pleas to Piaggio to free up some funds for the MotoGP project.

This could happen in 2022 when Aprilia brings the MotoGP effort in-house to Noale, parting ways with Gresini Racing which will run privateer Ducatis next year.