Three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo appears likely to announce his retirement from grand prix motorcycle racing later on Thursday.
Series promoter Dorna issued a communique on Thursday morning stating that an exceptional press conference is to be held at Valencia with Lorenzo and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, scheduled for 3pm local time.
A similar press conference was held for Dani Pedrosa at the Sachsenring last year when the long-time Honda rider announced his decision to retire.
Although he has a contract with Honda for the 2021 season, speculation has swirled that Lorenzo would choose to hang up his leathers at the end of the year since he was forced to miss four races in the middle of the year following his Assen practice crash.
During his layoff he sounded out Ducati about a potential return to the Italian marque, but those efforts came to nothing as Honda and Lorenzo reaffirmed their commitment to each other when the Spaniard returned to action.
However, the 32-year-old’s dismal form aboard the RC213V has forced him to continually bat away speculation he’ll call time on a grand prix career that began in 2002 that has yielded five titles and 68 victories across all classes.
Johann Zarco, who is replacing the injured Takaaki Nakagami for the last three rounds of the season at LCR Honda, would be the logical candidate to take Lorenzo’s place alongside reigning champion Marc Marquez at the works Repsol squad in 2021.
The Frenchman finished ahead of Lorenzo on his Honda debut in Australia, and was running inside the top 10 last time out in Malaysia when he was hit by Joan Mir and crashed.