Jorge Lorenzo will make a major announcement after calling an 'exceptional' press conference at Valencia this afternoon, on the eve of the MotoGP season finale.

The triple MotoGP champion's future has been the subject of intense speculation after a nightmare debut season at Repsol Honda, marred by a string of injuries and lack of confidence in the RC213V.

The Spaniard, a best of eleventh place and no higher than 14th since back fractures at Assen in June, will be joined by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta for the 3pm press conference.

The natural assumption is that Lorenzo will announce he is not serving the second year of his HRC contract and - given Ezpeleta's presence - plans to retire from MotoGP.

A less likely possibility is that the 32-year-old has decided on a sabbatical, to regain physical fitness before a return to action in 2021, when all the top seats are currently vacant.

Either way, Lorenzo's early Repsol exit would mean HRC need a replacement to partner reigning world champion Marc Marquez next season.

Johann Zarco, who has done an impressive job during two stand-in rides at LCR Honda, is the leading candidate.

Other options include moving either Cal Crutchlow or regular LCR team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (unlikely due to recent shoulder surgery) to the official team, in which case Zarco would fill the void, or promoting test rider Stefan Bradl.

Lorenzo began this season aiming to become only the fifth rider in history to win premier-class races for three different manufacturers, having taken 44 wins and three titles while at Yamaha from 2009-2016, then three victories after a big-money move to Ducati for 2017-2018.

"I struggled also in the first year at Ducati, but I've struggled more this time [at Honda] because before the season started I had two big injuries last year, in Aragon in the foot and Thailand with the wrist," Lorenzo said earlier this year.

"Then in the pre-season I broke my scaphoid, in Qatar I broke some ribs and [had a fast testing accident at Catalunya] but the big one was in Assen.

"I've never been 100% fit to ride the Honda, so I could never push to my maximum. Like this in MotoGP is difficult, even more so when you don’t feel completely comfortable on the bike. 

"That's the feeling I've got with the Honda for the moment. I've never felt really safe, especially in the front part of the bike. It's all the circumstances together, especially the injuries, that make my situation or my results so bad."

Prior to joining MotoGP, Lorenzo was a 250cc world champion in both 2006 and 2007, winning four 125cc races between 2002-2004.

 

Sepang: MotoGP Championship standings
Pos RiderNatTeamPointsDiff.
1=Marc MarquezSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)395 
2=Andrea DoviziosoITADucati Team (GP19)256(-139)
3^1Maverick ViñalesSPAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)201(-194)
4˅1Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)194(-201)
5=Danilo PetrucciITADucati Team (GP19)176(-219)
6=Fabio QuartararoFRAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)*172(-223)
7=Valentino RossiITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)166(-229)
8=Jack MillerAUSPramac Ducati (GP19)149(-246)
9=Cal CrutchlowGBRLCR Honda (RC213V)133(-262)
10=Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)115(-280)
11=Pol EspargaroSPARed Bull KTM Factory (RC16)94(-301)
12=Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)*83(-312)
13=Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)74(-321)
14=Aleix EspargaroSPAFactory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)56(-339)
15=Francesco BagnaiaITAPramac Ducati (GP18)*54(-341)
16=Andrea IannoneITAFactory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)43(-352)
17=Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16)*33(-362)
18=Johann ZarcoFRALCR Honda (RC213V)30(-365)
19=Jorge LorenzoSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)25(-370)
20=Tito RabatSPAReale Avintia Ducati (GP18)18(-377)
21=Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda (RC213V)16(-379)
22=Michele PirroITADucati Team (GP19)9(-386)
23=Hafizh SyahrinMALRed Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16)8(-387)
24=Sylvain GuintoliFRASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)7(-388)
25=Karel AbrahamCZEReale Avintia Ducati (GP18)7(-388)
26=Mika KallioFINRed Bull KTM Factory (RC16)3(-392)
 

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