MADRID (Reuters) - Triple MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo announced on Thursday he would retire after this weekend’s season-ending race in Valencia.
The 32-year-old Mallorcan’s departure after an injury-blighted season leaves a coveted vacancy alongside compatriot Marc Marquez, the six times MotoGP world champion, at the Repsol Honda team.
He said his difficulties this season led to his decision to retire.
“I love this sport but above all I love winning,” he said at a special news conference also attended by series CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.
“I have let myself down and I have let down Honda but I think this is the best decision for me and the team. We are both winners and we always have to fight to win.”
Lorenzo moved from Ducati at the end of 2018 but has struggled with fitness and the handling of the RC213V bike.
He is 19th overall with a meagre 25 points from 18 races, and without a single top 10 finish, compared to Marquez’s runaway tally of 395.
Lorenzo said earlier this month that he needed a month or a month and a half without racing in order to recover fully for next season but has now decided to call it a day.
“In this stage in my career it has been impossible to stay concentrated, I feel very bad for Honda,” he added.
“I’m fortune to have the career I’ve had. I’ve battled with a lot of riders who have not been able to fight to win a world championship like I have. I will always feel very fortunate for having that opportunity.”
The Spaniard, who also won two world titles in the 250cc category (now Moto2) in 2006 and 2007, was MotoGP champion in 2010, 2012 and 2015 with Yamaha.
He missed four grands prix after crashing during practice at Assen in the Netherlands in June and suffering fractured vertebrae.
He was also ruled out of the opening pre-season test in Malaysia last February after fracturing his left wrist while training in Italy and undergoing surgery.
Reporting by Richard Martin, additional reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Christian Radnedge