Rossi denies being the main factor for Lorenzo exiting Yamaha
Valentino Rossi is adamant he is not the reason why Jorge Lorenzo has decided to leave the Yamaha MotoGP team next year in favour of a switch to Ducati.
It was officially confirmed on Monday that Lorenzo will be switching to Ducati for 2017 on a two-year deal, parting ways with the team he has spent his entire premier class career with.
Speculation has swirled regarding the exact reasons for the switch, with suggestions that Yamaha remains biased towards Rossi often being cited as a leading factor.
However, speaking to the media on Thursday, Rossi denied this was the case when it was put to him that Lorenzo "could not stand" being his teammate any more.
"The great thing about the Yamaha management and all the guys that make decisions for the team, is that they are able to manage two top riders, because they always keep us at the same level," said the Italian.
"Already in 2008, when I had been at Yamaha for four years, Lorenzo arrived straight away exactly at my level.
"But this happened also the other way, when I come back in 2013 [after two seasons with Ducati] when Lorenzo was champion, Yamaha put me at the same level.
"Always in Yamaha it's 50/50, which is the key to make the team work. So I don't think it's for this reason."
Lorenzo will be strong
Rossi added that the Ducati is a very different animal to that which he experienced during a barren two-year stint in 2011 and 2012, and the 37-year-old expects his teammate to be immediately on the pace next year.
"When I arrived at Ducati, the bike was very different to all the others, another concept," explained Rossi.
"At that moment, Ducati decided to follow a more normal way, more similar to other bikes, which was the right idea if you see the performance of the Ducati now.
"But they needed time to get experience with this type of bike, and it looks like year-by-year the bike improved.
"Now the level of the Ducati compares to Yamaha and Honda, and with Lorenzo riding it next year it will be clearer."
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