Rossi: 'Yamaha have to decide between me and Jorge for 2011.'

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Rossi_Lorenzo_Catalunya_2009.jpgPhoto: MotoGP

Rossi must not be happy developing a bike that can be used against him, especially by a rider many consider to be a mirror of his younger self. Speaking candidly during an interview with The BBC, Rossi followed that ultimatum with the statement, “I have a great option to join Ducati.” We’re pretty sure he has a great option to anywhere he wants, but most telling are the veiled inferences to what we’ve all been expecting, Valentino Rossi is bored again.>

While BBC Two has already pulled the televised interview from Youtube and made it entirely inaccessible to the US, the following quotes featured on the BBC’s sports site make it pretty obvious a drastic change is nearing for the emotionally conflicted MotoGP legend.

“I am not 100% sure if I will stay with Yamaha.”

“I could change bike, ride for Ducati and try to win the world championship with an Italian bike. That would be a great motivation.”

“To change bike would be unfaithful. So for Yamaha it is important that I finish my career with them and for me it is also important.”

We understand that context is everything, and that his statements may
have possibly been framed to create a response. However, he’s saying
quite a bit for a single interview. Clearly he’s feeling old,
disinterested, not very loved by Yamaha and maybe even a little
threatened by his contractually walled-off teammate.

A move to Ducati
could be fraught with issues and completely shake up the entire MotoGP
paddock, forcing the Italian company to choose between the last three
successive MotoGP
champions, with Stoner not likely willing to take on second-tier
billing. We’re guessing Ducati have offered Rossi his own team,
but that’s pure conjecture on our part.

Critics may say these
are just the antics of a demanding primadonna. Personally, we don’t
care. He’s one of the greatest Grand Prix champions of all time. We
just hope that allusion to finishing his career was more a sign of
long-term commitment to Yamaha should the company so desire to meet his demands rather than
the racer preparing for an oncoming retirement.

BBC Sport

  • michael prichinello

    That’s a tough one for Yamaha. Rossi is The Doctor and one of the most winning racers of all time, but Lorenzo is an up and coming champ. Truth is Valetino should be the choice because he’s proven he can win time and time again, and I can’t think of anyone in ANY sport that’s as memorable, personable and marketable as Valentino.

    • motolocopat

      John Force in Funny Cars… a sponsors dream

      Im both a Yamaha and Ducati fan so either way. I would like to see the Doctor win a 10th championship. My guess is he sticks with Yamaha next year and then goes home to Italy and finishes out his career with a year or two on Ducati.

  • Marshall Haas

    I would actually like to see Rossi leave Fiat Yamaha. I would really like to see him move to WSBK or Formula 1… he’s already proven he can go from Honda to Yamaha and dominate on both, he will just dominate on a Ducati too. He’s bored with MotoGP completely.

  • RichMeyer

    I would love to see Rossi go to Ducati and develop a new bike and win on it. I think that would really cement him as the greatest of all time. I doubt it will happen though. Like the previous poster, i would like to see him in a different series. Its no secret that Ferrari has been courting him to drive F1 for some time.

  • vic

    he is NOT michael schumacher in formula one.he is the greatest rider in the moto gp of the decade but he is not without competition,MS could say the he is bored but looking at the scoreboard in the last 3 years we can see that vale has some stiff competition.i wonder if he is “bored”(almost every rider said that the launch control and too much electronics makess for a boring ride and one that seems to be alien to anyone except the junior riders who grew up in the smaller classes.just look at the scoreboard)because of the adulation of his fans and media..i found it distasteful when he acted out like HE won the race in australia,when the man of the day was stoner(comeback from injury,won his home grand prix,etc).stoner seems like a more shy individual and just stood there looking at rossi who was ooh so overly friendly on the podium with the fans because the camera’s where there

    another thing,when yamaha got rossi they we’re nobody..rossi made yamaha in motogp.the same cannot be said of ducati which has taken down some big riders with only stoner being able to tame the beast

    with spies and jorge(the real primadona..jeez..that flag..bleah) on yamaha posibly benefiting from HIS knowledge and setup i can imagine why he is pissed,but say it out loud man.

  • Botswana Meat Commission FC

    He’ll either ride for Ducati or drive for Ferrari. The sponsorship and marketing potential would be incredible.

  • powermatic

    In the same way that Abdul Jabar earned the right to follow the break at a leisurely stroll, Rossi has earned the right to dictate exactly what he wants in the sunset of his career. That isn’t being a ‘prima-donna’-it’s the long-conquering warrior demanding-no, expecting-to have his well-earned rewards. He didn’t reach the absolute pinnacle of his sport by assuming a posture of humble submission, and he’s damned well not going there now. He should be able to dictate every aspect of his team, and his subordinates should smile, nod agreeably, and make it happen.

    Long live the king.

  • CboB

    Rossi is Italian, riding for a Japanese company… you know he would like to full Italian everything. I bet his leathers are made from Italian countryside cows.

    As for bored, if you are filthy stupid rich and are just over MotoGP what do you do? Kick it on the beach for a while and see what comes about.

    Rossi is incredibly good on the track and in the pits, as for his bike powering some other guy (without some sort of team hierarchy) that could get to be annoying.

  • Sean Smith

    Rossi driving F1? Hogwash. Now, I don’t kick it with the guy, nor do I make any claims of being an expert, or even an obsessed fan. Alright, so my mouse is sitting on a MotoGP pad, with the 46 bike over-shadowing everyone else; I’m a fan, but I’m not a crazy one. What I do know, is that an interview in a recent issue of Road Racing World with The Doctor.

    In the interview, Rossi is asked about the F1 rumors, and he says flat out that it’s all media. Besides, the man is fast on a bike, and even pretty quick in a WRC car, but he’s only got a few minutes of seat me in an F1 machine.

    The likelihood of being able to keep pace, and compete with the rest of the F1 grid is slim to none. Look at what happened when Schumi started racing bikes. He’s no slouch, but he’s not magical. Rossi would likely be a similar story in F1. Unfortunately, Ferrari doesn’t let you drive an F1 car unless they think you’re going win races.

  • Tom Holcomb

    Something people don’t consider in all of this speculation is Jeremy Burgess. Yes, it is a fact that Rossi swapped factories and kept winning. But it wasn’t like his whole world was flipped on its head. Remember that his crew chief followed him there–a crew chief with three world champions to his credit.

    Rossi may be the greatest motorcycle racer of all time, but he is not superman. Everyone just assumes that were he to move to Ducati he would instantly adapt that bike and start winning races. I don’t buy it. Sure, it’s possible, but not an inevitability. Burgess has already stated that he will retire when Rossi’s time at Yamaha is done. Which, for the first time in the premiere class, will leave Rossi on his own with a new team. Will he be able to adapt to the Ducati? Or adapt the Ducati to him? Maybe. But it would be WAY more difficult without the best mind in the paddocks on his team. Plus the bike seems to be hit and miss. Melandri and Elias are both riders that have straight-up beaten Rossi head to head in the past–no, not on a regular basis, but they were both race winners with Rossi on the grid. Both of these riders failed spectacularly on the Ducati. In other words, luck seems to be as beneficial as ability on that bike. Stoner just happens to have both; he’s an incredible, fearless rider and also just happened to fit that bike like a hand in a glove.

    There is also the issue of testing time, which looks to be going the way of the do-do. This is downright killing riders on unfamiliar rides. People get down on Nicky, but look what he’s done lately: 5th in the last race, 5th in testing, starting to make some extremely aggressive passes. He’s doing nothing different at Ducati than he did at Honda: working hard and taking his time and coming around until his consistency will perhaps overcome the front group’s win/crash cycle. Remember, he only won two races his championship season. He’ll be there in a year or so.

    Which is just what Rossi would do, if you ask me. He might pick it up quicker than Hayden–probably would, in fact. But if he didn’t get lucky and just suit the bike right off the bat like Stoner, I could see his move to Ducati being a big disappointment. Say what you will about Rossi, he’s a downright hero on a motorcycle. I’d like to see him go out a champion, not yet another Ducati test rider.

    Sorry for the long post, but I’m bored.

  • David Owens

    Rossi has raced a F1 ferrari and McLaren, he has put times up against several tracks that have astounded the critics as he has never formally trained or practiced in the cockpit of these cars.

    In regards to MotoGp… He will decide whether or not Yamaha will be his retirement place after 2010. It all depends if Ducati will allow the same full control of his team and development of the bike as Yamaha allowed. One of the Ducati managers may leave which Rossi has not a great relationship too, when that happens, and he wins next year, he may go for the move~

    Yes it sounds great to retire riding and wearing and being Italian ie: Ducati, AGV, Dainese, Rossi…all being Italiano, but remember there are a lot of variables that need to change. I agree that Yamaha would be kicken themselves if they let him go. Read his autobiography of all the secret meetings it took for him to move to Yamaha…meeting with Ducati…and in the end it was all about which company gave him the most freedom to adapt him and his crew to the equipment and machinery..

    Im a huge rossi fan.. io tifu rossi… but am excited to see Spies come in since I’ve watched him move from ama to wsbk to motogp… he won’t be a threat right away but hopefully he gets some of the tech that rossi has as well as council from vets like tornado… it will be crucial for his learning curve..aside from other riders…all of them that can make it there are amazing alien like gods…which we all know have strengths mentally and physically..

    but all have weakness’s too… The question is who can and has more mental and physical strength to outlast an entire season, the racing, the tests, the media, the fans, the sponsors etc… sum it up… only a small few in the world… Rossi, Jordan, Woods… etc I’m a racer and know that I take what they do best and apply must best within their form… see u at the top cuz the bottoms way too crowded… 786 afm..