Jorge Lorenzo – 2012 MotoGP™ World Champion
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo made history in the AirAsia Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island today, as he became the first Spanish rider to win the premier-class title more than once, after coming second and securing an insurmountable 43-point cushion with one race left.
Jorge Lorenzo’s journey to his two MotoGP™ premier class titles began at the age of three when he entered in minicross competitions in his native Mallorca, followed by junior motocross and a 50cc Copa Aprilia title in the Spanish Championship – an entry he was only granted with special permission. Lorenzo subsequently became the youngest ever rider to enter a World Championship race. Turning fifteen – the minimum age for Grand Prix participation back then – on the second day of practice for the 2002 Spanish race at Jerez, he made his debut on board a Derbi 125cc at a track where he would enjoy much success over the next few years.
In just his second season he took his first Grand Prix victory at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where his impressive “round the outside” overtaking manoeuvre on Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa won him the nickname “Por Fuera”. In 2004 he sealed a further three triumphs, before making the move up to the 250cc category a year later and taking four poles and six podiums in his maiden season. 2006 was to be the coming-of-age year for the Mallorcan, who switched to Aprilia machinery and immediately became the favourite for the World Championship. He justified the hype with an impressive eight victories, equalling the pole position record in the process with ten, and lifting the title in an emotional final race of the year at Valencia.
Another dominant year in 2007 saw Lorenzo retaining the quarter-litre title, with all nine of his victories coming from pole. At just twenty years old, he was a two-time 250cc World Champion and took on his biggest challenge to date by signing for the Yamaha factory team in MotoGP alongside Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo made an immediate impact in the premier class with a stunning first five races. He took pole on his debut – becoming the first man to do so since Max Biaggi ten years previously – and finished second in an astounding performance in Qatar. He followed up the feat with pole at the next two races, becoming the first rider to go ‘three from three’ in his rookie season and turning both top spots into podium finishes.
Unfortunately his debut MotoGP season in 2008 was also marred by a few big crashes and injuries, including two broken ankles in China that eventually forced the debutant out of action for his home race in Catalunya. However he regained his fitness and confidence in the latter part of the season, and picked up the pace to finish fourth overall and become Rookie of the Year. Lorenzo went from strength to strength in 2009, pushing his then colleague and fierce rival Rossi all the way for the title. Their battle at Catalunya was a season highlight, and Lorenzo picked up four wins as part of a 12-podium haul for the year, with five pole positions as well. Ultimately he was unable to wrest the title from Rossi’s grip, but his challenge was becoming ever stronger.
2010 saw Lorenzo’s star rise even further, and he was finally able to shake off the ‘inconsistent’ tag by scoring podium finishes in the first twelve races of the season, winning seven of them in the process. He took pole on six occasions that season, and qualified on the front row of the grid for every race except one. Still aged just 23, he become only the second World Champion from Spain in the premier class after Alex Crivillé. 2011 saw the Mallorcan face a new foe in the form of a rejuvenated Casey Stoner on board his Repsol Honda, which proved to be a near unbeatable combination. Yet despite a Yamaha that looked to be lacking in power, he fought his way to three wins and ten podiums, and managed to finish the season in second, despite missing the final three races due to a bad finger injury.
With the switch to 1000cc at the start of 2012 Lorenzo and his Yamaha made a terrific start by winning the opening round in Qatar after a hard fought battle with the Repsol Hondas. From that point on the Spaniard went on to take five further wins and nine second-places, only once failing to finish a race after being taken out by Álvaro Bautista in Assen. The race at Phillip Island proved a dramatic one as his main rival Dani Pedrosa crashed out early on, with Lorenzo needing only a three-point finish or more to clinch the title. He however didn’t hold back and climbed on the podium once more to take his second premier-class title.
Jorge Lorenzo facts:
- Lorenzo is the first Spanish rider to win the premier-class world title more than once.
- He has finished either first or second at every race that he has finished during 2012. The only occasion this year when he has failed to finish either first or second was when he was knocked off by Álvaro Bautista at the first corner of the Dutch TT.
- Throughout the 2012 season only two riders have finished in front of Lorenzo – Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner.
- He becomes just the third rider in the 64-year history of Grand Prix racing to win more than a single world title in both the intermediate-class and premier-class of Grand Prix racing. The only other riders to have achieved this are Mike Hailwood and Phil Read.
- 2002: 125cc World Championship – 21st position on Derbi, 14 starts, 21 points
- 2003: 125cc World Championship – 12th position on Derbi, 16 starts, 79 points
- 2004: 125cc World Championship – 4th position on Derbi, 16 starts, 179 points
- 2005: 250cc World Championship – 5th position on Honda, 15 starts, 167 points
- 2006: 250cc World Championship – 1st position on Aprilia, 16 starts, 289 points
- 2007: 250cc World Championship – 1st position on Aprilia, 17 starts, 312 points
- 2008: MotoGP World Championship – 4th position on Yamaha, 17 starts, 190 points
- 2009: MotoGP World Championship – 2nd position on Yamaha, 17 starts, 261 points
- 2010: MotoGP World Championship – 1st position on Yamaha, 18 starts, 383 points
- 2011: MotoGP World Championship – 2nd position on Yamaha, 15 starts, 260 points
- 2012: MotoGP World Championship – 1st position on Yamaha, 17 starts, 350 points