MotoGP

Marc Marquez is not convinced by Jorge Lorenzo’s reason to retire

Marc Marquez says Jorge Lorenzo's decision to come back to racing as a wildcard with Yamaha demonstrates he didn't retire because of the 'fear' from racing

Marc Marquez has speculated it was Jorge Lorenzo’s inability to get to grips with the Honda RC213V that led to his decision to retire, rather than the ‘fear’ of hurting himself again following a catalogue of injuries.

The Spaniard, a three-time MotoGP World Champion, shocked the paddock when he announced on the eve of the 2019 finale that he would be hanging up his helmet.

At the time Lorenzo cited difficulties in motivating himself again after injuring his back in an accident at Assen but just weeks after his retirement call, he signed a new deal to become Yamaha’s test rider.

The move raised eyebrows in MotoGP, not least because retiring annulled his two-year Repsol Honda deal, with some speculating it was a ruse to ultimately get him out of his contract from racing a bike he wasn’t competitive on.

Indeed, six-time MotoGP World Champion Marquez admits he wasn’t convinced Lorenzo retired because he was afraid of injuring himself again, but because he simply couldn’t adapt to the Honda RC213V. 

He says Lorenzo’s decision to confirm a racing return as a wildcard at the Catalunya MotoGP race (if it goes ahead) demonstrates his ‘fear’ of racing was simply being afraid of the bike.

"It came as a surprise, as it was for everyone, on Thursday from Valencia,” he told Spanish newspaper AS. “I found out while having breakfast, on Twitter, I was watching the news and that's where I read it. 

“It is true that it was very difficult for him to adapt to the Honda and the injuries did not help him. Lorenzo retired because, according to him, he had fear, he had that respect. 

“Maybe he had fear for the bike because if he is able to get on another and consider doing a wildcard in Montmeló, because you are not afraid of the sport, right? 

“Maybe you took fear of the bike or you just didn't understand it.”

Did Jorge Lorenzo ‘retire’ to get out of Honda contract?

Jorge Lorenzo has often been backwards in coming forwards when it comes to justifying his actions. After all, he insisted he was honouring his Honda contract right up to the moment he then decided to retire.

Suffice to say he certainly looks happier back in blue and his comments since suggest he is enjoying his new part-time role as a test rider with the option of races.

However, Marquez’s comments are probably fair in that his inability to get the most from the RC213V – a bike known to be tricky mistress in the hands of all but the world champion – is surely a reason to have cut his losses early.

Honda itself has already deflected questions over whether they thought Lorenzo’s retirement was a cunning ruse to skip his contract, saying they simply wish him well. Had Lorenzo been more competitive and the team not been able to get Alex Marquez on board in his place, the tune may have been different.

What will be interesting is how Yamaha allows Lorenzo to approach his wildcard as and when it is able to take place.

The Spaniard says the venue was chosen in part because he has always been competitive there, but because there is also a post-weekend test on the Monday you will often see teams enter their test riders for the race anyway to maximise track time.

Will Yamaha allow Lorenzo to run the optimum settings to get a good result, or will – like other teams – take it as an opportunity to run new parts and a more experimental set-up?

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