Retired three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo will return to Monster Energy Yamaha in 2020 after agreeing to become a test rider for the team.

Lorenzo clinched his three premier class titles during a nine-year stint with Yamaha before leaving for Repsol Honda in 2019.

That disappointing move ended midway through a two-year deal as the 32-year-old – who finished a lowly 19th in the riders' standings – made a surprise call in November to quit racing.

However, Yamaha confirmed on Thursday that Lorenzo will make his official return as test rider for the Sepang shakedown test from February 2-4, where he will ride the 2020-specifciaiton YZFR-M1 and will take part in official and private tests.

"I'm very happy to announce I just signed an agreement with Yamaha to join their Test Team," the Spaniard posted on Twitter. 

"I want to do my best for Yamaha's future, and I hope my riding experience will be helpful to engineers and riders to bring the title back to Yamaha."

Yamaha, who axed Jonas Folger from its test team at the end of last season, also confirmed no wildcard outings are planned in 2020 but are "open to the possibility" should Lorenzo decide to race again.

Valentino Rossi will delay making a decision on his MotoGP future until the middle of next season despite losing his factory Yamaha seat to Fabio Quartararo from 2021.

The legendary Rossi was asked to take a call on his long-term plans ahead of what will his 21st campaign in the premier class and 15th year with Yamaha.

Rossi endured his worst Yamaha season to date in 2019 and Maverick Vinales' contract extension this week meant there was more doubt about the Italian's place at the team.

On Wednesday, Yamaha announced Quartararo will join Vinales for the 2021 and 2022 seasons but have promised Rossi of the "availability of a Factory-spec YZR-M1 bike" should he wish to continue.

"For reasons dictated by the riders' market, Yamaha asked me at the beginning of the year to make a decision regarding my future," said Rossi, a seven-time premier-class champion. 

"Consistent with what I said during the last season, I confirmed that I didn't want to rush any decision and needed more time. 

"Yamaha has acted accordingly and concluded the ongoing negotiations. It is clear that after the last technical changes and with the arrival of my new crew chief, my first goal is to be competitive this year and to continue my career as a MotoGP rider also in 2021. 

"Before doing so, I need to have some answers that only the track and the first few races can give me. 

"I'm happy that, should I decide to continue, Yamaha is ready to support me in all respects, giving me a factory-spec bike and a factory contract. In the first tests I will do my best to do a good job together with my team and be ready for the start of the season."

Quartararo is one of the hottest young prospects in MotoGP having scored seven podiums, five of which were second place, and six pole positions in his rookie season, finishing fifth in the overall standings.

Next term he will continue to ride with the Petronas Yamaha team before partnering Vinales from 2021.

"I'm delighted about what my management has achieved in the last few months together with YMC," he said. 

"It was not simple to establish, but now I have a clear plan for the next three years and I'm really happy. I will work hard, like I did last year, and I’m extremely motivated to achieve great performances."

Maverick Vinales has signed a two-year contract extension with Monster Energy Yamaha to keep him with the team until 2022.

Following Fabio Quartararo's sensational rookie campaign with Petronas Yamaha in 2019, Vinales' future with the factory team beyond 2020 had looked uncertain.

The 25-year-old has been inconsistent since arriving in 2017 but is the only Yamaha rider to have won a MotoGP race since the start of the 2018 season.

Vinales has now been locked in for the next three years, while team-mate Valentino Rossi is only contracted until the end of 2020.

"I'm extremely happy because I feel like I get to keep 'my own team'. This will be the second year with my current crew, and after this I have two more years to look forward to. I'm so excited," said Vinales.

"I think that if we keep working really hard we are heading the right way. For me, it was very important to make this announcement before the season started, because I'm highly motivated and want to be able to fully concentrate on the 2020 season.

"I don't want to spend too much time thinking about the future. There were no reasons not to stay with Yamaha, because they feel like family. Yamaha is giving me a lot of support and, as I said, I have 'my own team', which is something I really need.

"We need to keep working and be very strong. Our main objective is, as always, to be world champions and try to bring Yamaha the number one honour again. I will try my best. For sure, I will give everything I have to make our team proud too."

Last season, Vinales recorded two race wins in Assen and Malaysia, finishing third in the riders' championship behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso.

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez is to have surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Repsol Honda rider was involved in a crash during the first day of testing in Jerez on Monday.

Marquez landed awkwardly in gravel after crashing on the final corner and suffered a partial dislocation of his right shoulder.

Medical tests confirmed the eight-time world champion, six of those titles having come in the premier class, has aggravated a problem he first sustained at the Malaysia Grand Prix this month.

Marquez's latest injury comes after he damaged his left shoulder in 2018 and was in a race against time to be fit for the start of the 2019 season.

In a statement published on the MotoGP website, Marquez confirmed he would have an operation on Wednesday.

He said: "This winter I would have liked to have a nice holiday and enjoy a bit of quiet time after a great 2019 – but it is time to have surgery on the right shoulder.

"As everyone knows, last winter was very tough for me with the operation on the left shoulder, which was very, very damaged. I want to avoid the situation where my right shoulder is in this condition in the future so I spoke a lot with the doctors to see what our options were.

"Before Motegi [the Japanese Grand Prix in October] I had some issues with the shoulder and then after the crash in Malaysia I had a subluxation. Here at the test I had another subluxation after the crash, so we decided with the doctors that it was best to have the surgery to avoid the situation we had with the other shoulder.

"It will take more or less the same time and we will work in the same way to arrive at the Malaysia test as strong as possible."

Marc Marquez concedes it will be tough to replicate the phenomenal consistency he displayed en route to a sixth MotoGP championship in 2019 next season.

The Spaniard rounded off a campaign to remember with a 12th win from 19 rounds, a result that secured the teams championship for Repsol Honda, while he only placed outside of the top two once.

Nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso finished some 151 points adrift of Marquez, who has no doubt 2019 will be remembered as one of the best of his career.

Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "It's been amazing.

"I mean 2019, I don't know if it will be the best season of my career, but one of the best for sure.

"It will be difficult to improve the consistency, there was just one crash when the leading the race.

"It's been an amazing season and to finish in a good way [is great]. The victory was important but also Repsol can celebrate the team championship, so it's something important for Repsol."

Marquez added: "I'm very, very happy. It's been the perfect season, it will be difficult to repeat it.

"Now it's time to enjoy it, then Tuesday we start the 2020 season."

Rookie Fabio Quartararo completed a fine debut campaign with a seventh podium finish after placing second and the Frenchman is confident he can do even better next season.

"Who imagined at the end of the season we will have six poles and seven podiums?" He said. 

"I think nobody, we can't ask for no more. I dedicate this to my team, everyone told me I didn't deserve this season in MotoGP, I wanted to prove them wrong.

"It's unbelievable to finish this way. I'm really looking forward to next year, we will be stronger."

Jorge Lorenzo will take time to travel and "party" before deciding on his next career move after calling time on his competitive MotoGP career.

The Spanish great announced the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix would be his last race and he finished 13th in front of his home fans on Sunday.

It has been a disappointing final campaign for the three-time MotoGP champion, who has struggled with injuries and form after switching to Repsol Honda.

Lorenzo is open to the possibility of taking on a position as a test rider in the future but for now he plans to unwind after a brilliant career.

Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "Now I can breathe, now I can relax! 

"It's a big relief to finish my career without a crash, I didn't feel great on the bike with the wind and the cold and when I knew I couldn't have the pace this weekend, when I understand I can't be quicker, I just tried to finish without crashing. 

"I spent my life travelling, sacrificing, training, feeling pressure to get results, I have many, many beautiful moments but also hard moments and a lot of discipline during my life.

"Now I just want to go on holiday. I will see what happens in a month, two months of holiday then when I'm home plan my next chapter. 

"Life is very open, there are many things to do. I love obviously to travel, to eat, to sleep, to party, just enjoy life. There is only one life, I'm just here to enjoy it.

"As I told you there are a lot of things in life, I'm open to any possibility, that [test riding] could be a possibility but I'm not close to that."

Lorenzo has many fond memories on the bike but counts the 2015 title win when he pipped Valentino Rossi to glory as his greatest achievement.

"Obviously, 2010 [was special] because I made a record of points, it was almost the perfect season," he added. 

"Apart from this I will remark 2015 because there was a lot of pressure. Valentino had to finish fourth, it happened, I won by three points."

Team-mate and compatriot Marc Marquez – who rounded off another memorable title-winning campaign with victory in Valencia – paid tribute to Lorenzo.

"I mean what we saw this year from Jorge is not the reality, of course [he will be] disappointed with the way he finished his career," he said. 

"I don't have in my mind this Jorge. Jorge is the one that was winning, a strong character, strong riding style. 

"I say all the best to him and for me he is one of the references in MotoGP and one of the references for the young kids."

Marc Marquez rounded out a memorable season with a dominant victory at the Valencia Grand Prix as fellow home favourite Jorge Lorenzo's final race ended with a disappointing 13th-place finish.

Having already sealed a sixth MotoGP world championship, Marquez's 12th win from 19 races in the last round of the season also ensured the teams' trophy for Repsol Honda.

Fabio Quartararo started on pole but after being passed by Marquez was unable to keep pace with the brilliant champion and crossed the line second ahead of Jack Miller.

Marquez's team-mate and three-time MotoGP champion Lorenzo announced his retirement earlier in the week and the 32-year-old, having qualified 16th, was unable to make significant headway on a cold and windy day in Spain.

Quartararo quickly regained the lead out of the second corner having seen Miller make a flying start off the line, as Marquez began slowly.

The world champion wasted little time slaloming his way back through the pack, though, and by the end of the end of lap two was second and in pursuit of Quartararo.

It must have felt like deja vu for the Frenchman, who has been denied a win in his rookie season on a couple of occasions by Marquez, and there was an air of inevitability when the brilliant Spaniard stole ahead.

With 20 laps to go, Marquez sent his Repsol Honda down the inside from way back at Turn 11 and quickly set about opening up an unassailable gap.

Further down the pack, Johann Zarco was taken away from the side of the track on a stretcher after a hugely unfortunate incident.

Danilo Petrucci, Zarco and Iker Lecuona all came off their bikes independently at Turn 6, but the latter's bike wiped out an unaware Zarco leaving him clearly winded, with television images later showing the Frenchman back in the garage with no apparent major damage.

The rest of the race passed by without major incident as Marquez coasted to an astonishing 18th top-two finish of another memorable campaign, surpassing 400 points in the process.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will be aiming to cap another extraordinary season with yet another record in the final race of the campaign in Valencia.

Marquez had his sixth world title wrapped up with four races to spare after triumphing in Thailand last month, and has since gone on to set a new points record in MotoGP.

The Repsol Honda rider is now just five shy of becoming the first rider to reach 400 points in a single season.

Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi needs a podium finish in the season finale to avoid equalling his longest run without one in MotoGP.

Using Opta numbers, we take a look at the best facts ahead of the final race of 2019.

395 – Marquez's tally of 395 is a MotoGP record for a single season, while the Spaniard has also achieved 17 podium finishes.

23 – Excluding abandonments, Marquez has finished in first or second place in each of his last 23 races, his best such run in MotoGP.

7 – Maverick Vinales has finished on the podium seven times in 2019. He has never tallied eight podiums in a MotoGP season.

15 – Rossi, who has not won in his last 45 Grands Prix appearances, has not finished on the podium in his last 15 races, meaning he needs to do so on Sunday to avoid matching his poorest run of 16 between 2011 and 2012.

8 – There are some good omens for the Italian, however, with Rossi having triumphed eight times at the Ricardo Tormo circuit – more than any other rider.

12 – Andrea Dovizioso won the last Valencia Grand Prix, breaking a 12-year run without a victory for an Italian rider in the traditional season finale.

50 – Alex Rins will be bringing up a half-century of MotoGP races; he has two wins, eight podium finishes and two fastest laps in the top category.

244 – Marquez, who has won in only one of his six appearances at Valencia, has led for 244 laps this season in MotoGP – 51 more than the rest of the riders combined.

0 – Jorge Lorenzo could finish without a win, podium or pole position for the first time in his 12 seasons in MotoGP.

MotoGP riders will race just three hours after qualifying on Sunday at an Australian Grand Prix that has been hit by adverse weather conditions.

Saturday's qualifying session was postponed by a day after strong winds and rain in FP4, when KTM's Miguel Oliveira was blown off track, meant organisers declared conditions unsafe.

That halted the momentum of Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, who sat at the top of the timesheets after the first three Phillip Island practice sessions.

One consolation for the Spaniard is that if qualifying is not able to be run, practice times will be used to determine the grid order.

Vinales' FP2 effort of one minute and 28.824 seconds put him half a second clear of Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller.

Level on points with Alex Rins in the battle for third in the championship, Vinales loves racing in Australia. He has finished on the podium for each of the last three years, including his win in last year's event.

Marc Marquez, who has already sealed the 2019 riders' title, and Valentino Rossi were down in sixth and seventh positions respectively, closely followed by Rins.

In-form Fabio Quartararo had to sit out FP2 due to a crash in FP1 that led to him being taken to the medical centre.

Though the Rookie of the Year winner – who collected his sixth podium of the season in Japan last time out - avoided a left leg fracture, he will continue to receive treatment for a haematoma in his ankle.

Due to FP3 taking place in poor conditions, Quartararo could not match the Friday times of the other top riders and will have to progress through Q1 if qualifying goes ahead.


CRUTCHLOW BACKS QUALIFYING CALL

Crutchlow was among the riders in agreement with the decision to postpone qualifying.

"These decisions don't get taken lightly and I think we made the correct decision not to ride," the British LCR Honda rider said.

"The conditions for our bikes were horrendous. Moto2 went out in front of us and they had not as many problems, but people seem to forget they've got half the horsepower that we've got.

"Some people wanted to ride, some people didn't. It's as simple as that. If we all went out and something would have happened, I think we would have all looked like idiots and that's the reality.

"You saw what happened to Miguel. I was behind him coming down the straight, so I saw first-hand how easily you can fly off track.

"To me it was bad. Some guys think it was rideable, but I didn't and I'm a guy who will always take a risk."

MARQUEZ NEARING PEAK SEASON

With three races to go, Marquez is looking to complete an historic season.

Leading Dovizioso by 119 points after recording his fourth straight race win in Japan, he already has 10 poles and 10 victories in 2019.

This is only the second time in his MotoGP career he has reached double figures in both categories. The other was when he got 13 of each back in 2014, tallies that he can still match.

The Repsol Honda star is also eyeing his 15th podium of the season, which would equal his best career tally. He landed 15 in 2013 and would have two races in Malaysia and Valencia to go better still if he succeeds in making the top three here.

MILESTONE FOR ROSSI

Valentino Rossi, who is looking to bounce back after crashing out at Motegi, will make his 400th grand prix start.

The Italian said earlier this week: "It is good to make the 400 here in Phillip Island as it is an iconic place for MotoGP and all the riders love the circuit because it is something special compared to the rest. It is one of the best places.

"I didn't know what to expect when I started my career. When I was 17 you see a guy that is 25 years old and it felt like your grandfather! Now I am 40, imagine!"

Rossi has won six times at the circuit in the premier class and twice more in 250cc. The veteran could do with drawing on those positive memories after a season that has fallen well short of expectations.

Since a second-place finish in Austin back in April, he has gone 13 races without reaching the podium and retired on four occasions.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Maverick Vinales
2017: Marc Marquez
2016: Cal Crutchlow
2015: Marc Marquez

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 350
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 231 (-119)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 176 (-174)
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 176 (-174)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 169 (-181)

Teams

1. Ducati 400
2. Repsol Honda 383 (-17)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 321 (-79)
4. Petronas Yamaha 263 (-137)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 246 (-154)

WEATHER FORECAST

Riders will be watching the weather right up until the race starts as there is a chance of showers striking. Even if the event is a dry one, high winds are highly likely to be a factor to contend with.

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is delighted to have the chance to make his 400th grand prix start at Phillip Island.

Rossi is set to become the first rider in history to reach the milestone at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix and the Monster Energy Yamaha star was in a reflective mood.

The Italian, who has claimed nine titles across all classes, has taken part in 42.5 per cent of all motorcycle grand prix events since the start of the world championship in 1949, scoring points in 353 of his 399 starts.

"It's been a long, long time," said Rossi. "It's something you don't expect, especially when I was young, but in my career I've never had a clear idea of what will happen or how long I have to race.

"When I was 17 you see a guy that is 25 years old and it felt like your grandfather! Now I am 40, imagine!

"It's a good achievement because I didn't know what to expect when I started my career.

"It is good to make the 400 here in Phillip Island as it is an iconic place for MotoGP and all the riders love the circuit because it is something special compared to the rest. It is one of the best places."

While the riders got to enjoy the sun around media activities on Thursday, rain is forecast for when they take to the track across the weekend.

"We pray, everybody prays, for the weekend weather to be like this with the blue sky and fantastic temperature," said Rossi.

"Unfortunately, the good weather has arrived a little bit too much in anticipation of the weekend so we will have to fight with difficult conditions at Phillip Island. Anyway, it is always a pleasure."

World champion Marc Marquez equalled Mick Doohan with his 54th career MotoGP victory after winning the Japanese Grand Prix.

Marquez was scintillating as the six-time MotoGP champion cruised to his 10th victory of 2019 at Motegi on Sunday, with Repsol Honda sealing the constructors title.

The Honda star was scorching on the track, blitzing Fabio Quartararo to move level with Doohan in third on the all-time list for MotoGP wins.

After wrapping up another premier class title in Thailand last time out, Marquez made history by claiming pole position at Motegi, meaning he had earned pole at every circuit on the sport's calendar.

It was an exhibition for Marquez, who left the chasing pack in his wake and sealed a 21st successive finish inside the top-two positions.

Quartararo finished nine tenths adrift to be Marquez's nearest challenger as the Yamaha rider clinched the Rookie of the Year.

"It was not easy, especially because I was pushing from the beginning, because the strategy was clear - I tried to open a gap in the beginning because I felt very strong in the warm-up," Marquez said after celebrating his fourth successive victory.

"Honestly speaking I start to play a lot with the switches and everything, because like you see [he parked right after the chequered flag], with the fuel and everything I was on the limit. When I take these two seconds, I start to play again with the switches.

"Was not easy to ride because you needed to think many, many things on the bike, but I was able to manage in a good way to finish the race [within] the limit."

Andrea Dovizioso earned his 100th podium, while it was a miserable outing for Valentino Rossi – who did not finish the race.

 

TOP 10

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +0.870secs
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +1.325s
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +2.608s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) +9.140s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) +9.187s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +9.306s
8. Joar Mir (Suzuku Ecstar) +10.695s
9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +14.216s
10. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +18.909s

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 350
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 231 (-119)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 176 (-174)
4. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 176 (-174)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 169 (-181)

Teams

1. Ducati 400
2. Repsol Honda 383 (-17)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 321 (-79)
4. Petronas Yamaha 263 (-137)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 246 (-154)

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