Three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo says the chances of him making a full-time return to the series have increased since his Yamaha test debut, but remain low.
Lorenzo drew a line under a 12-year premier-class career as he walked away from a two-year Honda contract midway through, announcing his retirement at the end of 2019.
Swiftly recruited by Yamaha to serve as its test rider in 2020, Lorenzo rode the M1 bike during the Sepang shakedown and felt immediately at ease with it.
This prompted questions as to whether Lorenzo could yet be tempted to return to MotoGP competition, and when asked when he would consider such an option for 2021, he said: “You know, my first idea when I retired was to retire completely.
“I spent 18 years of my life fully committed to winning, competing, working really hard to get my mission. Now I think I’m in a different stage of my life.
“But I also have to say that the other day I enjoyed a lot, riding the Yamaha. I feel again the happiness I didn’t feel for a long time.
“Maybe the last time I felt a professional happiness was when I win in 2018 three races in four, this stage was very happy. But unfortunately with injuries, some bad results, I couldn’t feel the same in this last one year and a half.
“And for the moment these three days [of the shakedown] were very happy for me. So if I say in Valencia  there was 99 percent chance to not come back, now can be 98.”
Lorenzo – who also rode on the third day of the collective test at Sepang – could make his return to competition as early as this year if he and Yamaha decide to arrange a wildcard outing, with the manufacturer making it clear that it is open to the possibility.
“We have discussed it. It’s optional,” Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis said. “So, it’s optional for Jorge and optional for us. If he feels he would like to do and if we have the capacity to do it, then we will do it.
“Obviously the main mission of Jorge’s contract with us is the development of the bike, so we are more likely to select a grand prix where it has a good sense for us to do the wildcard and then do a test [afterwards], rather than just pick a race out of the blue where there’s no logic to do the wildcard.
“It’s a matter that we will discuss together, and I think Jorge needs to feel comfortable, needs to feel he will be up to racing speeds, but why not?”