George Lorenzo Grows Up

With his boss, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali (far right) listening in, JL99 does a press conference. Dean Adams

If you have been around Jorge (George) Lorenzo much, you can tell how he is doing on any given day by just looking at him. He wears every emotion like a loud suit. He can be calm. He can be frantic. He can be 150 pounds of anxiety in a human flesh bag. He can be anti-social. He can celebrate badly when he wins. He can be a jerk. He once came to a former world champion’s motorhome after a session and lectured the champ on riding respectfully when they are on the track together “after all I am the world champion” he said. He can be a good guy. He comes to America in the off-season and hangs out with normal work-a-day people, asks their kids how school is going and really listens to the answer.

The Ducati experience for Lorenzo has been challenging. In fact, the last several years have been challenging for Jorge, what with some very bad crashes, a heroic comeback that went bad and then that whole now only having nine fingerprints incident. It’s a lot for a guy like Lorenzo to work through. After a rider has been hurt that bad they learn that coming off the bike isn’t something they are going to be able to walk away from every time or walk away without some mental baggage. Plus, a guy wants to keep his fingers.

Lorenzo spoke with the press today after qualifying. He seems to now be well-grounded, for Lorenzo.

He said that the bike needs work on both ends for him to go fast for a lot of laps, and that the giant birdhouse they have on the front of the bike is better than without it.

He spoke clearly and his weird green eyes met the eyes of every person who asked him a question. He was a little edgy: “Like I explained to you yesterday …” he told one media hound, exasperated.

After seeing him today I would be surprised if Lorenzo left Ducati for another team in 2019. He has already done the thing where he’s the fastest guy on the team but the other guy basically runs it, and the other rider gets endless applause just by waving to people. He’s signed his autograph on way, way too many Valentino Rossi posters thrust in his arms. That stuff has got to get very old.

He’s already done solid work at Ducati to get the bike close to what he needs to find success. They value him. Changing teams again? Over a salary dispute when you have already made more money than a guy can reasonably spend?

George seems to have grown up a lot in the last 18 months.

Yet, like all things George Lorenzo, let’s wait for tomorrow and see what he thinks.


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