VALENCIA, Spain: Three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo looks to end his nine-year Yamaha career, and his stormy relationship with superstar team-mate Valentino Rossi, with victory at the season-ending Grand Prix of Valencia on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Lorenzo led the title race earlier this year but has since fallen dramatically off the pace with Spanish compatriot Marc Marquez having already wrapped up the championship.
Rubbing further salt into the wounds was seeing Rossi seal second spot in the standings leaving Lorenzo with just third place to target before he heads to Ducati in 2017.
“The season is almost over and finally we arrive to Valencia, where I have some good memories, especially last year when we were able to achieve our goal and become world champion again,” said Lorenzo who also won at the track in 2010 and 2013 in the elite category.
During his time at Yamaha, Lorenzo has won 43 races, gained 106 podiums, and started from pole 38 times.
“Valencia is going to be a very special race for me because after nine years with the Yamaha family I have to say goodbye and it won’t be easy,” added Lorenzo who is being chased by British Grand Prix winner Maverick Vinales on a Suzuki for third spot in the championship.
“I had a lot of good feelings with Yamaha and together we won a lot of races and titles. So I will do my best to try to win and I will try to secure third position in the championship as well,” he added.
Lorenzo has won three of the 17 races so far—the Qatar season-opener followed by back-to-back victories at Le Mans and Mugello in May.
Those performances placed him at the top of the championship before Marquez on the dominant Honda ran away with the series.
It was a third world title for the 23-year-old Marquez and was wrapped up in Japan with three races to spare.
He goes into the Valencia race with five wins in 2016—Argentina, Grand Prix of Americas, Germany, Aragon and Japan.
The title may be wrapped up but on Sunday he still has another target—securing a record 22nd constructors championship for Honda.
“The season isn’t over yet and after that we’ll have two important days of testing,” said Marquez.
“Our target for the race is of course to try and finish on a high in front of our fans, possibly with a win or at least a podium,” he added.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa returns for the season finale having missed the last two races after breaking his collarbone and left leg in a horror crash in practice at Japan.