Rumors had been flying for nearly a year, and now it's finally been confirmed: Jorge Lorenzo, the 250 World Champion, has signed with Yamaha to ride a Factory M1 for 2008. There had been much speculation that Rossi would not have Lorenzo in his team, and the wording of the press release seems to confirm this.
There are two key phrases:
- "a YZR-M1, with direct Factory support," and;
- "the exact structure of Yamahaâ€™s team and rider organization is still under consideration."
This seems to suggest that the widely-rumored one-man team, consisting of Jorge Lorenzo, with tobacco money from Fortuna, is likely to be a reality, leaving open the possibility of Colin Edwards staying as the development rider with the Fiat Yamaha team, alongside Valentino Rossi.
The prospect of Lorenzo in MotoGP is a very interesting one, for along with a great deal of talent, Jorge Lorenzo brings a not inconsiderable ego, and a manager with considerable personal animosity towards Alberto Puig, who manages Dani Pedrosa. So there is not just the matter of the world championship to contest, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the title of Spain's favorite rider.
And besides the animosity between managers, there is also rumored to be some animosity between Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi said to be not at all enamored of Lorenzo's ego or his antics. All in all, 2008 is already shaping up to be a fascinating season, and we're not yet done with 2007.
From the official Yamaha press release:
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces that it has concluded a two-year agreement with 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The 20-year-old Spaniard will make his MotoGP debut in 2008 aboard a YZR-M1, with direct Factory support.
Lorenzo, who won the 250 title in 2006, is currently leading the championship, after winning six out of the first ten races this season.
"Yamaha has been watching Jorge's career with interest for some time and we are delighted that he will be joining our MotoGP line-up from next seasonâ€ - commented Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. â€œWe are sure that he will be a valuable asset for the future and we look forward to the commencement of his MotoGP career with Yamaha.â€
The exact structure of Yamahaâ€™s team and rider organization is still under consideration at the present time. Further details, including Lorenzoâ€™s team structure, will be announced in due course.