Jorge ‘The Spartan’ Lorenzo Guerrero is a name that MotoGP lovers find falling off the tip of their tongue fairly often. The global treasure has shared his passion for bikes, and his career for almost 30 years, up until recently. On Thursday November 14th 2019, Lorenzo hung up his ‘ChupaChup’ endorsed helmet, (the one that brought him into the MotoGP), for the last time.
Upon hearing the news, it got the WeBuyAnyBike team reflecting on the iconic career of Jorge Lorenzo, so we’ve decided to put together a timeline for him!
Back in the Day
30 years ago today, Lorenzo was probably brewing up waiting to enter the world. After a good 3 years of him ‘getting his bearings’, Jorge’s dad, Jose decided it was time to set him up with a challenge, so he made him a bike! Little did he know that young Jorge would take it in his stride and conquer the world of 2 wheels for many years to come.
The following year, Jose had realised that 4-year-old Jorge had had enough practice, so he threw him into the deep end. Jorge would take Mini-Cross, Moto-Cross, Trials, and Mini Moto races over in his home island of Mallorca, claiming his first win at just 8 years old. It was only up from there!
The Start of Something Special
When 1997 came around, Lorenzo was just 10 years old. This allowed him to be entered into the Junior races. The following year saw him win the Aprilia 50cc cup! The next 4 years saw Lorenzo ‘take it steady’, simply because his age restricted him.
On May 4th 2002, Spain hosted its Grand Prix; this was also Lorenzo’s 15th birthday, which meant he was allowed to compete in the 125cc category! This was Jorge’s chance to show the world what he had. The next year in 2003, Jorge took a trip to Rio De Janeiro, competing in yet another 125cc GP, when he managed to secure his first win.
The Next Level
Lorenzo continued on 125’s for another year, securing 4th position in 2004’s championship. However, in 2005, he decided to push himself further, venturing into the 250cc category. This year was smooth sailing; completing the GP in 5th place.
The remainder of Jorge’s time in the 250cc championship left a healthy glow around the Lorenzo name. In 2006 & 2007, Jorge won first place for both years the 250cc world championships. In 2006 he won 8 races, and took a stand on the podium 11 times, then for 2007, he upped that to 9 wins and 12 podium finishes! We suppose this was the point in his life when Lorenzo realised he was ready for the next step.
Welcome to MotoGP
2008 welcomed a new year, and a new career opportunity for Jorge. After signing a 2-year deal with Yamaha towards the end of 2007, Lorenzo partnered with Valentino Rossi this year. Although it was his first experience with MotoGP, in 2008, he walked away with 1 win, and an award if 4th place.
In 2009 Lorenzo got stronger, providing a challenge towards Rossi. This year was one that we all know and remember; a truly iconic year in MotoGP history. During the last 3 laps at the Catalunya GP, Lorenzo and Rossi went head to head, constantly overtaking each other before Rossi took the lead at the last moment and won the race. This was the first year we saw Lorenzo with his famous ‘99’ number, taking into account the iconic year number and the iconic race, it doesn’t surprise us that this stuck.
2010 was a very special year for ‘The Spartan’, staying loyal to Yamaha, declining offers from Ducati and Honda secured him his first world championship win! This win consisted of 16 podiums, and 9 first-places.
A spanner in the works
In 2011, Lorenzo had a close call in losing one of his pinkies – or his 4th finger for that matter. This unfortunate occurrence happened at the Australian Grand Prix, but it wasn’t even the race it was practice! Following previous successes, however, he still managed to secure second place of the season… with a fixed finger.
The champagne was ‘popping’ again in 2012, when Lorenzo managed to not let his finger ‘get in the way’, bagging himself yet another world championship win. We can imagine Yamaha were over the moon with this, after securing another 2-year-deal with the superstar!
2013 was another iconic year for Jorge. Fans all over the world already knew what a trooper he was in MotoGP. However, Lorenzo stretched the mark this year when he unfortunately raced over standing water fracturing his collarbone during a practice at Assen Racecourse. During the same day he flew out to Barcelona.
The following morning Lorenzo underwent surgery fitting a metal plate and 8 screws. Following this, the very same day he returned back to Assen to compete the very next day, just 48 hours post injury! Lorenzo astounded fans, securing 5th place despite the injury! At the end of that season, he claimed 2nd place, beaten narrowly by Marc Marquez.
After a lesser successful season in 2014, the bottles were flowing in 2015 when Jorge won yet another world championship! 12 podium stands and 7 race wins, the Mallorcan delight did himself proud once again.
2016 saw the end of an 8-year era for Lorenzo, it’s without a doubt that these years were truly the highlight of his career. Throughout the almost-decade, he managed to stay loyal to not only Yamaha, but also the YZR-M1, this was an iconic bike for him and fans around the world.
Lorenzo: Start To The Finish
Unfortunately, the 2015 world championship win was to be the last one, but Lorenzo still bagged himself many individual race wins for the rest of his career.
2016 was the final year that Lorenzo competed with Yamaha. He completed the season with the final podium stand of his career, in which he was placed 3rd. He claimed 4 wins that season, but to complete the podium was Rossi in second place, and Marquez in first!
In 2017, he finally gave in to Ducati, when they sponsored him a Desmosedici GP17. Was this a good idea? Probably not, Jorge came 7th place that year, as opposed to his various podium wins the previous years. This was the first time in 13 years that he had not won a race.
2018 saw a slight difference. Sticking with Ducati, this time he spent the season on a GP18. Although he won 3 races this season, he flopped down to 9th.
The Career Crushing Crash
On June 6th of 2019, Honda Repsol announced that they would be taking on Lorenzo alongside his ‘brand-spanking-new-team-mate-but-not-really-new’ Marc Marquez. At the start of the season, Lorenzo didn’t seem to shift past 11th place. However, things soon took a turn for the worst a few weeks following the start of the season at the Assen GP when Lorenzo took a tumble during a practice session, fracturing his vertebrae in the process.
When he learnt of himself coming 19th in the table, this was when Lorenzo knew that the end was nigh. On the 14th November at a press conference prior to the Valencian GP, Jorge Lorenzo announced that the next race would be his last.
Throughout his entire career, and the 297 races he has competed in, Lorenzo has won 68 wins, and 5 world championship wins. He has claimed the podium 152 times, and claimed fastest lap 52 times. We Buy Any Bike would like to congratulate Lorenzo on such a successful career, and we hope that he enjoys his lengthy retirement from racing!
“I want to announce this will be my last race in MotoGP, and that at the end of this race I will retire from professional racing. I was 3 years old when everything started. Almost 30 years of complete dedication to this sport. Everyone who has worked with me knows how much of a perfectionist I am, how much hard work and intensity I put into this. Being like this requires a high level of motivation, when I signed for Honda I had an incredible feeling of motivation, achieving one of the dreams of every rider: to be an official HRC factory rider. Unfortunately, injuries came to play an important role in my season, being unable to ride in a normal way. I started to see some light but I had this bad crash in the Montmelo test, and some weeks later that ugly one in Assen.
The truth is from that crash, the hill became too high for me, and even if I tried, I couldn’t find the motivation and patience to be able to keep climbing it. I’m disappointed with that, I want to say sorry to Alberto Puig, to Takeo, Kuwata, Nomura and all my team, who I have to say have always treated me in an exceptional way. I would like to sincerely thank everyone at Honda for their support and understanding and also extend my thanks and gratitude to everyone who has been there through my career.”Jorge Lorenzo