Earlier this week, Dani Pedrosa confirmed that he will not continue with Repsol Honda in 2019. This set into motion, a guessing game as to who will join Marc Marquez in Honda. Several names were thrown into the ring, including WSBK rider Jonathan Rea, but Honda denied any interest. Now, it has transpired that Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo has reached an agreement with Honda next year.
The Japanese manufacturer is set to announce a two-year-deal with triple world champion Lorenzo soon.
The agreement is reportedly worth €4 million per year. The two parties supposedly reached an agreement several days ago. This was much before Lorenzo’s first Ducati win at Mugello.
The Spaniard has won three MotoGP titles with Yamaha but has struggled since moving to Ducati. However, he dominated the Italian Grand Prix last Sunday, leading a Ducati 1-2 with favourite, Rossi in 3rd. However, he admitted that the win had come “too late” to prevent the partnership from dissolving at the end of 2018.
Repsol Honda re-signed four-time champion and current points leader Marquez on a new deal back in January. Since then, Honda have been negotiating with several riders for the second seat at the factory team.
But with Johann Zarco choosing KTM over Honda and Andrea Dovizioso signed an extension at Ducati, they were running out of options. Another option is Moto2’s Joan Mir but he seems destined to join Suzuki. As a result, Pedrosa looked increasingly likely to stay on. But Honda had other ideas, namely Lorenzo.
Prior to the Honda deal, Lorenzo was close to a satellite Yamaha seat in 2019.
With the Spaniard being enticed by Honda, no current team on the grid officially has a satellite Yamaha deal for next year. It is believed that a project – reportedly backed by Petronas and Monster could come into play.