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Lorenzo to leave Yamaha after 2016 MotoGP season for Ducati

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Three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo will leave Yamaha at the end of the 2016 season to join Italian manufacturer Ducati.

Lorenzo has spent his entire MotoGP career with Yamaha, joining the team back in 2008 before going on to claim his first world title two years later.

Lorenzo followed this success up with further championships in 2012 and 2015, the latter coming at the expense of teammate Valentino Rossi.

Rossi signed a new two-year deal with Yamaha last month, and said that he doubted Lorenzo would have the guts to leave the Japanese marque and join Ducati as he did back in 2011.

However, it was announced on Monday that Lorenzo would indeed be leaving Yamaha at the end of the 2016 season, signing a two year deal with Ducati.

“Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announces that its partnership with Jorge Lorenzo will be discontinued at the close of the 2016 MotoGP season, when Lorenzo will move on to new racing challenges,” a statement read.

“Since Lorenzo joined the Yamaha Factory Racing Team in 2008, Lorenzo and Yamaha won three MotoGP World Championships (2010, 2012 and 2015), clinched 41 race wins and have been on the podium 99 times out of 141 races contested.

“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, their ninth season together.

“Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. wishes Lorenzo the very best in his future racing endeavours and reconfirms the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team’s full support on his campaign to achieve his fourth MotoGP title.

“Having already reconfirmed Valentino Rossi for 2017-18, Yamaha will announce the future Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team riders’ line-up in due course after securing the services of the second rider.”

Ducati followed this up with a statement of its own confirming Lorenzo’s arrival on a two-year deal.

“Ducati announces that it has reached an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo thanks to which the Spanish rider will take part in the MotoGP world championship in 2017 and 2018 aboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Ducati team,” it read.

Lorenzo’s ride with Yamaha is widely expected to be taken by Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales, who made a big impression during his rookie MotoGP campaign last year.

Lorenzo’s arrival at Ducati also means either Andrea Iannone or Andrea Dovizioso will be left without a ride for 2017.

Tempers flare as Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais collide at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — A multicar crash with just over 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 had tempers flaring Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Graham Rahal angrily confronted Sebastien Bourdais after the two collided while racing for position entering the third turn. As they spun beside each other, Rahal threw his hands up in the air and continued to gesture wildly at Bourdais as their cars came to a stop.

Rahal scrambled out of his car and went directly to Bourdais’ cockpit to scream at the driver before the safety crew arrived. Rahal then yanked off his gloves and threw them in his car after punching the air a few times.

The crash began after Bourdais’ left rear tire hit Rahal’s right front as they entered the corner and Bourdais seemed to come down on Rahal’s line.

“I’m just very disappointed,” Rahal told NBC Sports after being released from the care center. “It’s just another year to sit and think about it. I respect Sebastien as a driver, but I don’t respect that move.

“At those speeds, that’s how you kill somebody. I’m just not a fan of squeezing and putting people in those positions.”

Bourdais climbed out of his car shortly afterward and seemed unhurt. He was cited for avoidable contact by the IndyCar stewards and seemed somewhat remorseful about the move in an interview with NBC Sports.

“I didn’t think he had as much of the car as he did,” Bourdais said. “It’s always a dynamic thing. He got a run, it stalled there for a while, we made contact, and it sets up the whole thing. At that point. I’m just trying to collect the whole thing. It’s always easy to say I should have given up going into the corner.”

Rahal and Bourdais were former teammates at Newman-Haas Raccing.

“He’s been struggling all day,” Rahal said. “I was lifting a little bit to manage my gap. You can see him squeezing me and turns into me, and there nothing you can do. With 20 to go, you have to go. I think Sebastien knows that, which is probably why he hasn’t said much to me.”

The race was red-flagged at 3:17 p.m. on Lap 180 of 200 to clean up the debris from the multicar pileup.