Gordon Hatch, MotoGP Correspondent
Seven-times MotoGP Champion Rossi to join Yamaha for two more years
MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has been confirmed as signing a new two-year contract with Yamaha Factory Racing in a move that sees the Italian parting ways with the Ducati Racing team after nearly two full seasons with the Italian manufacturer that has failed to bear fruit apart from two third place finishes.
The signing of Valentino completes our future planning for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team.
Yamaha Factory Racing made the announcement on Friday morning 11th August following weeks of speculation that began when current factory rider Ben Spies confirmed that he would be leaving the Japanese team leaving the door wide open for Rossi and Yamaha to strike up a relationship once again that in their original partnership brought four MotoGP titles and with it turning the YZR-M1 into a title winner.
Speaking at the announcement, Lin Jarvis Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing was very happy to once again confirm Rossi as a team member. Jarvis said, "This announcement is once again excellent news for Yamaha. In June we were able to sign Jorge Lorenzo for the 2013-14 campaign and now we are able to confirm Valentino Rossi for the next two years. In doing so we have been able to put together the strongest possible team to challenge for victories and to promote the Yamaha brand. We have run this ‘super team’ together in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and during that time we achieved the ‘triple crown’ titles with Rider, Manufacturer and Team World Championship victories for three consecutive years.
The target for the future is obvious and we will do our utmost to achieve our goals. I have no doubt that with the experience, knowledge, skills and speed of these two great champion riders we will be able to challenge for many race wins and for the 2013 & 2014 World Championship titles. The signing of Valentino completes our future planning for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team. Now that this is done we will put our 100% efforts into completing the job at hand and to supporting Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo in their search for race victories and for Jorge’s 2012 World Championship title challenge," Jarvis added.
Rossi first joined Yamaha in 2004 and took the title that year and in 2005 and again in 2008 & 2009. He won 46 Grand Prix races with Yamaha over a seven year period before leaving at the end of the 2010 MotoGP season. Rossi, who is presently 8th in the Championship standings, will partner Jorge Lorenzo who currently leads the 2012 MotoGP World Championship by 23 points, having taken five victories from the first ten completed races of the 18 race series.
Ducati Corse also responded to Rossi’s new plans as MotoGP remains in the United States for round 11 at the Indianapolis Grand Prix on 19th August. The company has just recently been bought for a massive sum by car manufacturer Audi that is part of the Volkswagen Group but even after the assurance of improvements from the new owners Rossi still decided to move back to Yamaha.
The press statement from Ducati reads, “ Ducati wishes the Italian well for the new challenges that await him, and in the meantime, the team will continue to give its best effort in order to improve over the latter part of the season. Racing has always been in Ducati’s DNA, and now more than ever, it is integral to the Borgo Panigale company’s product development and image. AUDI shares Ducati’s strategic approach and agrees with its growing commitment to competition.
Therefore, having recently renewed its agreement with American Nicky Hayden, Ducati is in the process of finalizing the team that will take part in the 2013 World Championship, confident that its team and bike will be capable of competing at the highest level,” the statement ends.
More to follow...