Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo will leave Movistar Yamaha at the end of the 2016 campaign to join Ducati.
During an eight-year spell with Yamaha, his entire time in the premier class, Lorenzo has won three World Championships (2010, 2012, and 2015), and will be hoping to make if four before he departs the team.
The Spaniard’s future at Yamaha has been the subject of discussion for some time, and speculation that he would join Ducati only increased when team-mate Valentino Rossi, with whom he has endured a fractured relationship, signed a new two-year contract extension.
“Yamaha is extremely grateful for Jorge’s contributions to its racing successes and looks forward to sharing more memorable moments during the remaining 15 MotoGP rounds of 2016,” the team said in a statement.
Yamaha added that they would announce their second rider “in due course”. Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales has been widely tipped as the man to replace Lorenzo.
A Ducati statement read: “Ducati announces that it has reached an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo whereby the Spaniard will compete in the MotoGP World Championship in 2017 and 2018 on the Ducati Desmosedici GP Ducati Team.
“Lorenzo was born in Palma de Mallorca 4 May 1987, in his sporting career he won five championship titles in MotoGP (250cc in 2006 and 2007 and in MotoGP in 2010, 2012 and 2015).”