Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo will be assisted by friend and former rival Alex Debon during the 2018 MotoGP season.

Debon, as an Aprilia test rider and wild-card, helped Lorenzo during his first world championship showdown, in the 250cc class at Valencia in 2006 (pictured).

Lorenzo came into the race 13 points clear of current MotoGP team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, but nerves looked to get the better of the Aprilia rider when Dovizioso moved ahead of him on lap 8.

But Debon was following dutifully behind Lorenzo and, when the 19-year-old Spaniard eventually re-passed Dovizioso, Debon also moved by the Honda rider.

With Debon acting as an impassable 'wall', Dovizioso was never able to threaten Lorenzo again, who pulled away to confirm the world title with fourth place. Debon finished fifth, while Dovizioso faded to seventh.

Debon later claimed two grand prix victories for Aprilia, during 2008.

Debon will also be reunited with Gigi Dall’Igna next season, the general manager of Ducati Corse having run the Aprilia 250cc project during Lorenzo's back-to-back titles.

Ducati test rider Michele Pirro assisted Lorenzo as a trackside observer during 2017, but was not available at all rounds due to his own testing and Italian Championship commitments.

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