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Jorge Lorenzo confirms he is not retiring amid speculation over his Ducati future

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DESPITE speculation that he could be left without a ride, Jorge Lorenzo is adamant he will be on the MotoGP grid in 2019.

The triple MotoGP world champion appears to be on the outer at Ducati, and with limited attractive rides still available for a rider of his stature, there have even been suggestions the 30-year-old would consider retirement at the end of the year.

“What I just can say is that I will continue for the next two years,” he cryptically told media ahead of this weekend’s Italian GP at Mugello.

“I will not retire. And I will be with a good bike. This is the only thing I can say.”

Lorenzo was lured on a large retainer at the start of last year but, much like Valentino Rossi’s failed two-year stint at the Italian squad, so too has the Spaniard’s time in red been a fall from grace.

He has just three podiums to his name since joining Ducati at the start of last year, struggling to find a way to find a way to marry his smooth, high corner-speed riding style to the brutish Desmosedici.

There have been promising results; even as recently as Le Mans, where Lorenzo led the early laps only to fade to sixth, citing ergonomics issues with the 2018 Ducati’s fuel tank that prevented him from riding flat out the whole way.

Ducati said that it would reassess its relationship with Lorenzo at the end of the first three European races of the year, the third of which is the Italian GP at Mugello this weekend.

However, as Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti told crash.net after Le Mans: “I think it’s pointless to go on and on and on and make something work if it doesn’t work.”

Outside of Ducati, Lorenzo has few attractive factory options for 2019.

The second Suzuki is free. Andrea Iannone confirmed he is leaving at the end of the year on Thursday at Mugello, but it is believed the team is keener to hire rising Moto2 star Joan Mir over the experienced — and more expensive — Lorenzo.

With the second seat alongside Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda unlikely to be a realistic option, Aprilia is the only other factory team that has yet to lock in two riders for 2019.

A return to the factory Yamaha squad is impossible, with both Maverick Vinales and Rossi signed for the next two years.

Some paddock speculation has placed him on a satellite Yamaha — to be run by either Marc VDS Racing or possibly the Sepang International Circuit Racing Team that races in Moto2 and Moto3, and were behind Hafizh Syahrin’s rise to MotoGP.

Lorenzo was tight-lipped but, like Iannone, teased that we wouldn’t have to wait long.

“I guess in Montmeló you will have more information,” he said.

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