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Jorge Lorenzo admits he is “grateful” to MotoGP rival Marc Marquez for not standing in the way of his 2019 switch to Honda.
Ducati rider Lorenzo shocked the MotoGP paddock in June when it was announced that he would pair up with Marquez at the works Honda team for 2019-20, replacing the retiring Dani Pedrosa.
Lorenzo appeared to be facing limited options to remain on the MotoGP grid after Ducati decided to axe him from its line-up, before it became clear that Honda was an option.
In an exclusive interview with Autosport, Lorenzo said he “owes” his future team-mate for not standing in the way of the move.
“For me that means he [Marquez] really trusts in himself and he doesn’t want to show any weakness,” Lorenzo said.
“I owe him the fact that I could sign with Honda and I’m very grateful because at that moment I was facing a difficult situation.”
Lorenzo denied he would have been forced on to the sidelines had Marquez vetoed the move.
Referring to the new SIC Yamaha team, he said: “I wanted to keep racing, so I would have chosen the other possibility that I had open.
“I felt better than ever and would have been a shame saying goodbye in that circumstances.”
Lorenzo’s second season with Ducati had a slow start, leading to the manufacturer making the decision to drop him at the end of 2018, before he went on to win three races at Mugello, Barcelona and the Red Bull Ring.
He has not scored a point since, having crashed at Misano and Aragon before he was forced out of the Thailand race after injuring himself in a practice accident.
The Ducati rider has not scored a point since that last victory, having crashed in Misano and Aragon before being forced out of the Thailand race after injuring himself in a practice accident.
Lorenzo believes the lessons he’s learned with Ducati after nine successful years at Yamaha will make the process of adapting to the Honda easier.
“I’ve been far from my comfort zone, I’ve had to reinvent myself to be faster again,” he said of his time with Ducati.
“That has given me some abilities I didn’t have before and probably will help me in my adaptation process to the Honda.
“And I’ve given a lot of knowledge to Ducati about what the bike needed to be even more competitive.
“The team has had to work in some areas they didn’t before, like the chassis and the first touch of gas. Until that moment, everything was based on electronics and engine.”
Lorenzo adds his first test on Honda machinery in November’s post-Valencia test is likely to be an eye-opener.
“For sure it’s going to be a shock the first time I jump on the bike, you only have to see the difference in size [compared to the Ducati],” he said.
“The Honda is a lot smaller, but it will have its good and its bad things.”