Top moments of 2012, #8: Valentino Rossi and his return to Yamaha

With seven MotoGP championships, the Italian decided to go for the empty seat on the Yamaha Factory Team, and for those reasons, Valentino Rossi was named to the 8th spot on our top ten moments.

Four of Valentino Rossi’s seven championships were with Yamaha in the hotly contested MotoGP prototype road racing series (2004, ’05, ’08, and ’09). His first three were with Honda when the Italian broke into the top level on the 500cc bike and grabbed the crown in 2001. The following two years he was unstoppable.

Why did the Italian leave Yamaha Factory Team for the Ducati team? Was it due to his teammate and rival, Jorge Lorenzo? Or was the door opened for Rossi to switch seats and move to the Italian Ducati team? When one reviews the past, it is obvious that the answer to both questions was a firm yes. Lorenzo was a threat especially when he won the 2010 championship. Riding for Ducati for Rossi was “home”!

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team
Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team

Photo by: Ducati Corse

His two seasons with Ducati are truly the worse of his career; Rossi finished 6th in the points this past season. His best moment of the 2012 season was without a doubt his second place finish at the San Marino Grand Prix! It is obvious that he now wants to be back on top to chase for his eighth crown.

Yet one now wonders if he made the right decision since Ducati has been purchased by Audi, who is part of the Volkswagen Group. Plus the fact that in the past, “The Doctor” did not get along with his teammate, who just happens to be the 2012 champion! When on the same team, the two were like oil and water. “It's a big motivation to have him back because I always like to have the best riders in my garage,” Lorenzo smiled.

The reason the seat was opened at Yamaha was their American rider Ben Spies either elected or was informed that he needed to look elsewhere as his contract would not be removed. Actually with Casey Stoner preparing to retire at the end of the season, Spies might have been hoping for the Honda ride. Either way the young rider spilled the beans on his twitter page that he was leaving Yamaha on July 24th.

Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo
Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

Yamaha announced Rossi in mid-August, and shortly thereafter Ducati wooed Andrea Dovizioso from the Tech 3 Yamaha team to a two year contract. Spies signed with Pramac Racing, and that completed the musical seat changes. Yet one needs to mention that Honda’s second rider will be Marc Marquez. The young rider won the 125cc in 2010, and is the newly crowned champion in Moto2. Of course Dani Pedrosa remains with the HRC team as he nearly tasted the championship in 2012.

2013 may be the one year to not miss any of the action! Lorenzo and Pedrosa will continue their battle for the title but one should expect to see Rossi in the hunt as he aims for his eighth MotoGP title. Perhaps Nicky Hayden and Dovizioso might be in the drive for the championship also; depending on the new Ducati Desmosedici.

Next: moment #7 and Previous: moment #9

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Ben Spies , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa , Marc Marquez
Teams Pramac Racing
Article type Special feature
Tags dovizioso, ducati, honda, lorenzo, marquez, motogp, pedrosa, spies, stoner, top moment, valentino rossi, yamaha