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'Retired' Lorenzo returns to Yamaha MotoGP team as test rider

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Paris (AFP)

Just over two months after retiring from MotoGP, former world champion is back in the sport after Yamaha announced on Thursday that he would be their number one test driver in 2020.

The Spaniard spent nine years with the team, winning three world championships, before leaving for Ducati in 2016.

He spent a frustrating 2019 season with Honda before announcing his retirement at the end of the season.

"When we knew that Jorge would stop his active racing career, we immediately started to consider making a proposal for him to join us," Lin Jarvis, the managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said in a statement.

"The statistics of his achievements with us in those nine years together speak for themselves.

"We have come to know Jorge as a very precise and motivated rider, with flawless consistency and good technical insight: all the qualities you need in a test rider at this high level."

Starting from the MotoGP shakedown test in Sepang at the start of February, Lorenzo will ride the YZR-M1.

Yamaha said they were not planning any wild card rides for Lorenzo in 2020 but they were open to the possibility, should he decide to race again.

"I was always planning on staying involved in MotoGP and returning to the paddock, and I think this is a suitable role for me," said Lorenzo.

"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'."

On Wednesday, Yamaha announced that French rider Fabio Quartararo would join the team in 2021, replacing seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi.

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