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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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.