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New Faces for 2008: Jorge Lorenzo
Rossi's new team-mate
Although he is one of the New Faces' in MotoGP this year, there can't be many World Championship fans unfamiliar with the career of Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.

The Spaniard has been the main attraction in 250cc for the past two seasons,
providing a combination of dominance and entertainment not seen since the formative years of his new team-mate, Valentino Rossi.

The route to his two consecutive quarter litre World Championships was one built on breaking records, and began with a first encounter with minicross competitions at age three. Lorenzo competed in this form, in addition to trial, minimoto and motorcross junior, in his native Mallorca over the next few years, following up on a 50cc Copa Aprilia title by entering the Spanish Championship with special permission, aged just thirteen.

Setting a record unlikely to ever be broken, Lorenzo became the youngest ever rider to enter a World Championship race. Turning fifteen the minimum age for Grand Prix participation- on the second day of practice for the 2002 Spanish race at Jerez, he made his debut onboard a Derbi at a track where he would have much success over the next few years.

The following season he took his first victory in 125cc, at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In 2004 he took a further three triumphs, before making the move up to the 250cc category in which he would enjoy such success. Lorenzo did so with Fortuna Honda, and took four poles and six podiums in his maiden season.

2006 was to be the coming of age year for the Mallorcan, who switched to Aprilia machinery and immediately became the favourite for the World Championship.
He justified the hype with eight victories and an equalling of the ten pole positions record, lifting the title in an emotional final race of the year at Valencia.

Another dominating year in 2007 saw Lorenzo retaining the quarter litre title, with all nine of his victories coming from pole. At just twenty years old, Lorenzo was a two-time 250cc World Champion.

With his work completed in the lower cylinder classes, A long-awaited move to MotoGP was on the cards, which he would eventually make with a separated Fiat Yamaha team alongside Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo had his first test with the Yamaha M1 in secret at Almeria, but made his official debut with new Team Manager Daniele Romagnoli and Chief Mechanic Ramon Forcada at Valencia after the close of the season.

Further tests in Sepang and Jerez followed, and Lorenzo will be one of the riders to watch next season as fans see just what the exciting Spaniard will bring to the premier class in 2008 and beyond.
DORNA / CAPSIS International

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