Jorge Lorenzo has spoken of his delight at signing to remain a Factory Yamaha MotoGP rider until at least the end of 2014.
The announcement of a new two-year deal emerged this (Tuesday) morning - unexpectedly early in the season - and extends a partnership that began when the former 250cc world champion stepped up to MotoGP in 2008.
A race winner in his first premier-class season, Lorenzo won the MotoGP title in 2010 and currently leads the 2012 standings with three wins from the five rounds.
“I am extremely happy to have signed with Yamaha for two more years,” said Lorenzo. “They've made great efforts to retain me in the factory team so I want to thank all those involved at Yamaha for this. I've been treated like part of the Yamaha family since 2008 and I love working with them.
“It has always been my first option to stay here and so I'm happy that this important negotiation has finished with such a positive outcome. Now I can focus on the Championship and I'm looking forward to paying back Yamaha's trust in me starting at Silverstone this weekend.
“I look forward to winning many more Championships together; my dream to finish my career with Yamaha is now closer to becoming a reality!”
Lorenzo had become the prize signing for MotoGP 2013 following reigning double world champion Casey Stoner's retirement decision.
The Spaniard's signature is thus a massive coup for Yamaha, with some speculating they would be unable to match an all-out Honda effort for Lorenzo.
“This is excellent news for Yamaha and for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team,” commented Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Motor Racing managing director. “Jorge has been with us since 2008 and achieved superb results in the first four years, the highlight being his World Championship victory in 2010.
“He's currently on top form having won three of the first five GP races and finishing second in the other two. Jorge's contract extension allows both him and Yamaha to concentrate 100% on this year's Championship challenge without any distractions and also to make future plans together to further strengthen the winning partnership.”
Lorenzo rode alongside Valentino Rossi at Yamaha from 2008-2010, after which Ben Spies joined Lorenzo in the factory M1 team. The Texan is presently eleventh in the standings after a nightmare start to 2012.
Lorenzo is the only factory signing currently in place for 2013, with almost all MotoGP riders out of contract at the end of this year.