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
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.