Jorge Lorenzo, at the request of Ducati Corse factory managers, took part in the tests of the Desmosedici GP22 prototype in Mugello. “Officially” it was just a race. In the published photos, Lorenzo drove a Ducati S4R.
The races organized by Ducati at the Grand Prix track in Mugello were attended by several factory stars of the present and past, including 3-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss.
In some of the photos that appeared on the air, Jorge rides a V4R, but there are also those where he saddled the evolutionary prototype Desmosedici and rode in a pair with Mikkeli Pirro. According to eyewitnesses, then, Pirro, Lorenzo, and several factory engineers retired to the box and discussed something.
The purpose of these races has not been disclosed. We cannot exclude the fact that these were really fun track days for Ducati stars, following the grand celebration of World Ducati Week 2022, which brought together almost 30 stars of the factory past and present. By the way, Jorge Lorenzo was not at WDW-2022.
Jorge Lorenzo joined the Ducati Factory Racing factory team in 2017 but left the project after a scandal at the end of 2018. Ducati Corse hoped that Lorenzo would find a couple of solutions to make Desmosedici more ride-able: the factory hired him at the peak of Andrea Dovizioso, which spurred Dovi to go even faster. But without waiting for any breakthroughs, Ducati’s bosses brought down a lot of criticism and reproaches on Lorenzo, after which they pointedly did not renew the contract with him. Lorenzo, one way or another, remained a big plus: he received a phenomenal reward for his work – 17 million euros, which such stars as Dovizioso and Stoner could only dream of. Lorenzo managed to win several Grand Prix aboard Ducati, but he never came close to fighting for real positions in the championship. Many believe that Jorge was broken off half a step away from a real breakthrough, and if he had stayed in the factory team for 2019, he would have been able to fight for the title.