Rather than experiencing sadness or regret, Jorge Lorenzo has revealed he “felt freedom” when he finished his final race as a MotoGP rider at Valencia, with the fact he is “healthy, still young [and able] to enjoy life a lot” sufficient reason to feel “a lot of happiness.”

The 32-year old came home in 13th place, 51 seconds back of race winner of Marc Marquez but that was far from Lorenzo’s mind as he assessed the emotions of the day, when he brought an 18-year stint in the grand prix paddock to a close.

Perhaps for the first time since he returned from the serious back injury he sustained at Assen, Lorenzo talked openly about his emotions prior to the race. First and foremost he was focussed on avoiding any crashes and not “being in trouble at the start.”

The only present sadness, it seemed, came from an acknowledgment that he will “miss winning [and] riding” as well as the people around him that contributed to a glittering career in which he amassed 68 wins, 69 pole positions, 152 podiums and, of course, five world titles. 

“I’m totally happy,” he smiled. “I feel a lot of happiness. I feel free. When I crossed the line I felt freedom because I’m exiting this sport healthy, still young and with the possibility to enjoy life a lot.

“There is only one life. You have the chance to enjoy it. You have so many compromises, so many obligations, like I have now. We need to take this opportunity and that’s what I’m going to do from this afternoon and tonight!

“Yesterday I imagined how I may feel during the grid. I imagined that I’d feel relaxed and with not so much pressure.

“But I felt the opposite. I got pressure because I really wanted to not be in trouble in the start, in the first laps because I saw in the other categories today the track was slippery, difficult and the chances to crash and make some mistakes – apart from being in the last positions – was high. I didn’t want to crash during the race.

“When I was on lap three or four I was a little bit quiet. I knew I could finish the race. Even then the medium front tyre was at the limit. I needed to not lose any focus. If I slowed too much then the front can cool down and I could crash easily.

“When I saw I couldn’t follow Tito [Rabat], who overtook me, or the front group, and my position was this one, I decided to press the survival button and just finish the race at my limit. Finish that race on the bike and enjoy this unforgettable day with my fans, my fan club with all the fans that came today and made this track so crowded.

“Especially with the team. We finally achieved our goal, which is the triple crown and be able to say Honda won everything in 2019. Obviously that was thanks to the perfect season that Marc [Marquez] did without much of my help.

“But you know, I did my best. I don’t have regrets. The circumstances were the ones I lived this year. [I’m feeling] Happiness. 18 years here in this world championship. I will miss winning, riding and these people, this family that we travel the world with in search of happiness and glory.

“[On the grid] I said to Marc [Balsells], who is my personal assistant that I wanted to make the highest number of interviews possible and let the people understand how I was feeling at this last race.

“So I was busier than normal. Normally I don’t want to make interviews, just to be completely focussed. During the interviews I was nervous because, like I said, I didn’t want to crash or make any kind of mistake, to be able to finish the race on the bike and survive.

“As always when the lights went out I just wanted to give the maximum from me, that today was not a lot but enough to get some points and enough to finish on the bike.”

The Majorcan was then asked if he had the chance, would he change anything in his career? “I would choose to be Jorge Lorenzo,” he said. “Exactly the same as I was until today without changing anything.”