"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!'" - Valentino Rossi.
Rejoice Ducati, Dorna, Italy, MotoGP, FIM, motorcycle racing pundits, Pay TV executives and Rossi fans who suits red better than yellow and blue. The world's worst kept secret is finally official. Valentino Rossi will be red next year.
The people in the know will spend the next months analyzing what this means for Ducati and Rossi in terms of racing. When it comes to marketing, PR, brand-building and, ultimately, selling bikes, look no further than the press releases from Yamaha, Ducati and Rossi (the first two are slightly edited for readability purposes) below.
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. would like to announce that blah blah blah Valentino will move on to new challenges. Seven fantastic seasons, blah blah, huge part in the history. Blah blah Yamaha's heritage. Blah blah extremely grateful blah blah wish him the very best.
Ducati and Valentino Rossi, two year agreement blah blah new and exciting blah blah history. Blah blah extraordinary rider and character. "Delighted. Paragon of excellence. "Made in Italy" excellence. Key values for success. Strong and passionate intent. Believe. Opportunity," commented Gabriele Del Torchio, President of Ducati Motor Holding.
"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!'"