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It’s Official: Rossi Leaving Yamaha for Ducati in 2011

Although there has been little doubt among close observers of MotoGP, particularly, after Cycle World published quotes from a Ducati representative confirming Rossi’s joining of Nicky Hayden for 2011, both Yamaha and Ducati have now issued official statements confirming the move.  Immediately after the Brno race earlier today (in which Rossi finished in fifth position), Yamaha issued the following press release.  Immediately below Yamaha’s statement are official quotes issued by Ducati representatives welcoming Valentino.  Ducati has also confirmed that it is a two-year deal, with Rossi committed for both the 2011 and 2012 championships.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. would like to announce that the partnership between Valentino Rossi and Yamaha will come to an end at the close of the season, when Valentino will move on to new challenges.

Yamaha and Valentino have enjoyed seven fantastic seasons of racing, during which time they have won four MotoGP World Championships together.

Valentino has played a huge part in the history of Yamaha and he will always remain an important part of Yamaha’s heritage. Yamaha is extremely grateful for Valentino’s contributions to its racing successes over the past seven years and it would like to wish him the very best in his future racing endeavours.

Yamaha will be putting all its efforts into ensuring a successful and happy end to the partnership over the remaining races.

Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said “On behalf of the Yamaha Motor Group, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the amazing seven years that we have spent together. Valentino joined Yamaha in 2004 at a moment when Yamaha was struggling in road racing after eleven seasons without a championship victory. Valentino’s victory at his first GP race for Yamaha in South Africa in 2004 was an incredible moment and was just the first of many more race wins that have thrilled MotoGP fans and Yamaha fans around the world. His unsurpassed skills as a racer and a development rider enabled him to win four MotoGP world titles to date with us and helped Yamaha develop the YZR-M1 into the ‘the bike of reference’ for the MotoGP class.

“There have been so many wonderful experiences and victories and we are very proud to have been able to make history together. Whilst we regret Vale’s decision to move on, at the same time we fully respect his decision to search for a new challenge and we wish him the very best for 2011 and beyond.

“For the remaining eight races of 2010 Valentino will remain a Yamaha Factory rider. As such he will continue to benefit from our full support and we hope and expect to see some more race wins with him ‘in blue’ before the season is over!”

Valentino Rossi
“It is very difficult to explain in just a few words what my relationship with Yamaha has been in these past seven years.

“Many things have changed since that far-off time in 2004, but especially ‘she’, my M1, has changed. At that time she was a poor middle-grid position MotoGP bike, derided by most of the riders and the MotoGP workers. Now, after having helped her to grow and improve, you can see her smiling in her garage, courted and admired, treated as the ‘top of the class’.

“The list of the people that made this transformation possible is very long, but I would like to thank anyway Masao Furusawa, Masahiko Nakajima and ‘my’ Hiroya Atsumi, as representatives of all the engineers that worked hard to change the face of our M1. Then Jeremy Burgess and all my guys in the garage, who took care of her with love on all the tracks of the world and also all the men and women that have worked in the Yamaha team during these years.

“Now the moment has come to look for new challenges; my work here at Yamaha is finished. Unfortunately even the most beautiful love stories finish, but they leave a lot of wonderful memories, like when my M1 and I kissed for the first time on the grass at Welkom, when she looked straight in my eyes and told me ‘I love you!’”

Here are some quotes from Ducati:

“We are delighted to announce that Valentino Rossi will be with us from 2011,” commented Gabriele Del Torchio, President of Ducati Motor Holding. “He is a paragon of excellence in the world of motorcycling, coherent with our Italian company which is a standard-bearer for “made in Italy” excellence. These are key values for success in technology, design and sportsmanship.”

“In addition to the strong and passionate intent of both parties, this agreement has been made possible by the committed support of our shareholder Investindustrial and all the sponsors associated with the Ducati Marlboro Team, sponsors which have believed in this opportunity and share and support our choices.”

“Firstly, Valentino is a great fan of motorcycles and so it has always been a pleasure for me to listen his opinions,” added Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse General Director. “Until the Valencia GP he will remain a competitor, one so great that he has always given a special value to our victories, but as soon as he rides the Ducati for the first time, we will work together on every single detail that will develop a bike capable of showing his huge talent. Working with Valentino is one of the most exciting things for every Engineer and it’s good to know we will have this great opportunity next season.”

23 Comments

  1. Norm G. says:

    definitely waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding burgess and sponsorship. the burgess question is almost a no-brainer. short of retiring, he’s stated in the past, “i go where my rider goes”. the bigger unknown is sponsorship. if head-liner fiat doesn’t defect…? who will step up to the plate…? not 100% sure, but i believe marlboro has given up it’s role as a primary sponsor anyway…? they are likely just a secondary sponsor (notice the missing bar code for almost a year now from the bikes)… yes…? and sponsorship here is CRITICAL.

    fiat would be a logical choice since behind the scenes, the ducati engineers ALREADY work with the ferrari engineers. ferrari as most know is owned by fiat… who consequently also own alfa romeo… who consequently sponsor the WSBK team. :) fiat crossing over would make for another “italian trifecta” of manufacturer, rider, sponsor. the first would be biaggi, aprilia, and al-italia. neither rossi nor ducati are going to like getting beaten to the punch on this sort-of match-up by (former arch-nemesis) max and aprilia and all the success they are enjoying down in “lowly” WSBK. LOL

    however truth be told, ducati (the tiny little company that could) CAN NOT afford to pay rossi the salary he commands at this point in his career. repeat, can not do that AND continue paying for the round the clock engineering/R&D of cutting edge D16 kit, support staff (burgess and co.), ancillary team personelle, ohlins suspenders (ohlins doesn’t do “free” anything btw), logistics, etc. it’s takes to compete and win a championship at this level. oh and let’s not forget paying nicky’s salary and the salaries of HIS dedicated support staff and the WSBK effort. big money yamaha…? sure. big money honda…? why they could buy and sell rossi’s backside 3x over. ducati…? not so much. don’t be fooled by the marketing, they just LOOK big. don’t believe me…? just visit the U.S. headquarters (on the apple computers campus in cupertino) and you’ll see more clearly.

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  2. Rick Hermanns says:

    Rossi on a Duck is long overdue! Imola will be CRAZY next year. Remember where Yamaha was before Vale arrived??? They hadn’t won in the premier class for years. The Vale/Burgess team shows up and viola! World Champs! The Duck is up to the task; just look at where Stoner and Nicky are each week. My guess is that Ducati will provide the resources to ensure a world championship. I do hope the JB joins the team. Rossi will prove that he is the greatest GP rider of all time, then it’s off to F1 to drive something else that’s red and Italian! I can’t wait for the 2011 Moto GP season to start!

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  3. Daniel Breitbach says:

    “Hoo-Doggie! Pass me the pasta! It’s gonna get interesting.” Trpldog, you said a mouthful!

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  4. Ziggy says:

    Yellow 46 on red Duke indeed! Can’t wait to see Rossi in and on red. Now we’ll have to wait and see if his crew joins him. Burgess has switched with him so far, but don’t know if they’ll do it again. It will be interesting to see if he’ll reach the same level of success without Burgess and crew. Rossi on Ducati is the best thing ever. Even better is that FIAT can now also sponsor their own. FIAT Yamaha just doesn’t make any sense. Especially since FIAT displays bigger than any Yamaha logos on the Japanese bike. One has to wonder what kind of sponsorship they were giving Yamaha? Italian car manufacturer on Italian bike with Italian rider. It all makes sense. Nicky will hold his own better against Rossi this time around. Don’t anybody worry about that. Good luck to them both.

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  5. Trpldog says:

    Hoo-Doggie! Pass me the pasta! It’s gonna get interesting.

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  6. Briumph says:

    Rossi fan 1st but will cheer for Spies second. Not a Lorenzo fan although he’s talented. 2011 motoGP should be awesome! I hope Rossi and AGV comes with a Red Helmet theme…I need a new Rossi helmet to match my Triumph. Go Vale Rosso!

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  7. Gary says:

    Well I’ll be switched. I would’ve bet good money he’d never do such a thing. It will be interesting, and I wish him all the luck. He’ll need it.

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  8. W Devine The Woodlands, TX says:

    Rossi – Yellow No.46 Ducati????

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  9. Daniel Breitbach says:

    “It’s lucky that this news was braodcast this weekend. Otherwise, what would MotoGP have given us? It must be the dullest class of motor sport at the moment. F1 has been better this year. It certainly needs something, but a shuffle of bikes and riders is all that we can look forward to for now. MotoGP is in desperate trouble.”

    Patric, I hope you were being sarcastic, if not, then all I can say is, “You have got to be kidding me!” As someone who has followed GP’s for 30+ years now, I can’t think of a more exciting time in the sport! Although Lorenzo is running away with the title this year, there has never, I repeat, never been so much talent in the premier class before! If you dispute that, you’re just showing your ignorence! As far as dull, have you been sleeping under a tree for the past couple of years? Because I think your senses have been dulled! All I can say is, amazing! Rossi, thanks for helping bring Yamaha back to the front of Moto GP and I will look forward to watching you in Red next year! I can only hope that on the day that you retire, that you do so as a consultant to Yamaha.

    Daniel Breitbach

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  10. Patrick D says:

    It’s lucky that this news was braodcast this weekend. Otherwise, what would MotoGP have given us? It must be the dullest class of motor sport at the moment. F1 has been better this year. It certainly needs something, but a shuffle of bikes and riders is all that we can look forward to for now. MotoGP is in desperate trouble.

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    • Ruefus says:

      I don’t know what you’re watching but it sure isn’t MotoGP. I’ve watched a ridiculous number of forms of racing over the last 30+ years.

      I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me what’s more exciting than GP motorcycle racing right now. I’m not kidding.

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  11. Singh Noni says:

    Wat about Jeremy? Is he going to Ducati too or staying at Yamaha or going to some other team or retiring?

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    • Matt says:

      Burgess was banned from touching/seeing/whatever new hardware at the same time as Rossi was, after Brno. So unless he turns things around somehow, at some point later this year, he’s probably not staying at Yamaha. Wherever it is he’s going.

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  12. dave says:

    what’s next? Kawasaki motors? If he really wants to develop a bike, there’s his chance, or to F1 after this? I know he loves the Rally stuff but seems to me he’s just as fast in an F1 as he is on a bike.

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  13. Jimi says:

    With the major changes in rules comming up, having Rossi there to help with development will be a HUGE help for Ducati.
    The 1000cc engine will be a big change for sure, which may make Ben Spies a little more “at home” too.
    Going to be a great couple of years for Ducati/Rossi and Yamaha/Spies.

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    • Squid-Boy says:

      You’ve hit the proverbial “nail-on-the-head”, Jimi. What we’ll soon find out is, how good is Spies at “development”. There’s NO doubt that Spies is highly addaptable, but they’ll need to “taylor” the bike to his strong points if he’s to compete with the likes of Rossi and the “aliens”.

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  14. Yamasarus says:

    It has been a pleasure to watch this wonderful personality bring his Yamaha back to the front in MotoGP. His efforts will truly go down in the history of Yamaha world class road racing with so many other great Champions. I wish him well at Ducati and hope he has many more podium finishes.

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  15. Norm G. says:

    Is it 2011 yet…?

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  16. Pat says:

    What about Burgess and the crew? I really hope JB is sticking with
    Val in this move to Ducati.

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  17. Perko says:

    Vale’ is all washed up. (just kidding LOL)

    In my best Gavin McCloud voice …. “poor ole Nicky Hayden”

    Rossi and his guys will make that bike better than ever.

    SS

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