With Jorge Lorenzo returning to Yamaha as its new MotoGP test rider, the team has also opened up the possibility of a return to racing for the five-time world champion.

The 32-year-old announced his retirement from racing at the 2019 MotoGP finale in Valencia as he split from Repsol Honda one season into his two-year deal.

But it seems Lorenzo’s racing career isn’t officially over as Yamaha confirmed alongside his test duties for 2020 he will have the opportunity to take on wildcard entries if he wants to.

“So far, no wildcard rides are planned for Lorenzo in 2020, but Yamaha is open to the possibility, should he decide to race again,” a Yamaha statement confirmed.

Last season Yamaha didn’t run any wildcards but between 2011 to 2018 test rider Katsuyuki Nakgsuga was a regular Yamaha wildcard – while as stand-in for the injured Ben Spies he secured second place at the 2012 Valencia Grand Prix.

The majority of MotoGP test riders at rival manufacturers often have wildcard outings as part of their contracts including Bradley Smith at Aprilia, Sylvain Guintoli at Suzuki and Michele Pirro at Ducati.

On becoming KTM’s MotoGP test rider last year, Dani Pedrosa turned down the option for wildcards as he preferred to stick solely to testing duties.

For now, Lorenzo’s main focus will be leading Yamaha’s test team with his first test penned for the Sepang shakedown on February 2-4 before taking part in all official tests and private Yamaha tests in 2020.

Lorenzo will work with Valentino Rossi’s former crew chief Silvano Galbusera in the dedicated Yamaha test team.

“I was always planning on staying involved in MotoGP and returning to the paddock, and I think this is a suitable role for me,” Lorenzo said. “I know the team and the M1 well. The Yamaha really suited my riding style, and it will be very interesting to ‘meet up with my old bike again’.

“Returning to Yamaha brings with it some good memories. We secured many podiums and victories, and three titles together, so we know where our strengths lie.

“I want to thank Yamaha for this opportunity, because this allows me to do what I love – riding motorbikes and pushing the limit – whilst enjoying a slightly calmer lifestyle than I did in previous years.”

Lorenzo claimed 44 wins competing for Yamaha between 2008 to 2016 and secure dthree MotoGP world titles (2010, 2012 and 2015).

 

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