This Time For Real: Yamaha To Announce Rossi Signing On August 15th

It is a bit of a risk, announcing that Valentino Rossi will be switching to Yamaha just a couple of days after getting caught out by a hacked Twitter and email account. This time, though, confirmation is coming from multiple sources, including our own. Rossi will be leaving Ducati for Yamaha at the end of this season, with an official press release expected from Yamaha on the morning of August 15th, the Italian national holiday of Ferragosto, and the day before the paddock assembles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

According to the Italian media, the decision was taken a few days after the US GP at Laguna Seca, a race which was typical of Rossi's experience with the Ducati: slow during practice, unable to make progress during qualifying leaving him to start from 10th, and topped off with a crash at the top of the Corkscrew. Rossi crashed on lap 30, losing the front while braking and still almost upright. Unable to get any heat into the tire, the front tire looked almost new, despite having nearly the full race distance on it. Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio had flown especially to the US to present an offer to Rossi and convince him of the sweeping changes that Audi will help to bring about to the racing program, and at the Sachsenring and Mugello, Rossi had spoken to senior Audi executives about their plans for MotoGP. Ducati had even gone so far as to try to persuade Masao Furusawa, the former leader of Yamaha's M1 MotoGP project, to come to Ducati to help fix the bike.

Furusawa declined, as respected Japanese journalist Akira Nishimura reported on his Twitter page this morning after interviewing the former Yamaha man. Furusawa's reasons were deeply rooted in Japanese culture, and the strong bond between company and employee, even after the employment contract is terminated: it would not be right for a former employee to betray the company he worked for, and that was a step too far for Furusawa. The Japanese engineer revealed just how far Ducati were prepared to go to get help, telling Nishimura that Preziosi had said "I just want to make our bike better. It doesn't matter if I lose my position."

The Furusawa gambit was probably Ducati's last chance at getting Rossi to stay, and when it failed, Rossi made up his mind. The only thing that Rossi wanted was a competitive bike for the beginning of the 2013 season. When Preziosi acknowledged he could not provide that, Rossi's decision was clear. At the age of 33, Rossi understands that he does not have many more seasons left in MotoGP. He cannot afford to wait for Ducati to build a competitive bike. If he wants to start challenging for podiums and wins again - and more importantly, start enjoying racing again, finding the pleasure in racing that gives him the energy to make it through the long slog of testing and training - then he needs to be on competitive machinery. The Yamaha is competitive now; the Ducati is clearly no such thing.

Rossi's departure from Ducati is a defeat for both parties, as a curious retraction from the Italian magazine Motociclismo's website makes plain. Motociclismo published quotes from Ducati PR manager Francesco Rapisarda, acknowledging that Rossi would leave Ducati. The story with quotes was then removed from the website - though picked up by the eagle-eyed, who also saved a copy of the quotes as a screenshot - and Rapisarda denied to GPOne that he had made those statements, while editorial staff at Motociclismo told GPOne that it was 'a misunderstanding'. Whether a Ducati spokesperson said those words or not, the underlying truth remains. Rossi left Honda for Yamaha to demonstrate that the rider was more important than the bike. His return to Yamaha from Ducati demonstrates that this is only true up to a point. There is a basic level of performance that is needed from the bike for a rider such as Rossi to be able to perform.

But the move - indeed, the threat of a Rossi departure - has already had a massive effect on Ducati. The Corse department are scheduled to hold a major meeting this week, to discuss their R&D strategy and plan for the rest of the season. Rossi's leaving will have a major impact on the testing schedule, and cause Ducati to rethink their R&D efforts. Though help from Audi will not be direct, they may be able to help in speeding up redesign and production of new parts, with new parts feeding into the process more quickly. Ducati may find themselves in a quandary: having a man widely acknowledged as one of the best and most sensitive development riders under contract, but unwilling to give away too much of their future development direction.

There is still one fly in the ointment for the Rossi-to-Yamaha story: Though Rossi will be taking a massive pay cut to return to Yamaha, and leaving most of his entourage behind (only his 'Australian' crew are expected to follow him, the group consisting of Jeremy Burgess, Alex Briggs, Bernard Ansiau, Brent Stephens and Matteo Flamigni) the factory is still without a title sponsor for the second year running. Rossi is expected to bring a sponsor with him, and though the appeal of the Italian is undiminished - his name is far, far bigger than the sport, a risk to the future of the series itself once he retires - the pen has not yet been put to paper. Once that hurdle has been cleared, then the deal can be announced officially.

We realize that after being tricked by a hacked Twitter and email account, our credibility has suffered when it comes to Rossi's move to Yamaha. The Twitter and email messages about Rossi visiting Yamaha's HQ in Amsterdam may have been faked. But as many people pointed out, Rossi does not need to fly to Amsterdam to sign a contract with Yamaha. Just because he wasn't at Schiphol-Rijk, it doesn't mean that Rossi hasn't signed for Yamaha.

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Your credibility is not undermined whatsoever David - we're all big fans, and appreciate your perspective. Anyone and everyone can be duped - and really, the timing is just different, the net result will be the same.

(a very loyal motomatters supporter)

The doctor makes a comeback in 2013 on the m1.. Great news.. Cant wait for IndyGp
Vale no.1

I was hoping he stay with Ducati and win a championship, but I don't blame him for going back to Yamaha. The Duc is still years away from competitive even with Audi's resources. Would be interesting to see the team dynamics when he battle Lorenzo next year.

I feel this is probably spelling the near end of the Ducati Moto GP project. Possibly looking at two consecutive years without a win, is devastating especially when you have a team consisting of two former world champions.

I'm not convinced Rossi will be fighting for the title from the get-go on the Yamaha. Lorenzo is still top guy at Yamaha and Rossi is second fiddle. The bike will continue to be developed for him and not around Rossi.

Assuming this is true about VR to Yamaha as it seems to be, the big question remaining is the identity of the sponsor. And the degree that VR will be competitive. I suspect the 2013 season to be a barn-burner between JL99 and VR46.

Rossi is by all accounts on his way back to Yamaha with tail tucked cutely between his legs begging for scraps.
Were I him,I would have retired from GP back in 2010,ego intact. Hullo 2004! That was South Africa 8 years back and fledgeling Ducati effort.
Sum up. Nothings confirmed yet in front of the media.
However,I hope Rossi's return to Yamaha is confirmed for 2013. He needs a bike he feels he can ride and I want to get my Ducati's out of mothballs and cheer on my brand on any GP Sunday next year in full blooded red, nevermind who rides it as long as they put in the effort.
Ducati in a quandary ? I doubt it. Audi are laughing. They own Ducati. Rossi don't.
As ever,I will wait for the official word from the tuning fork outfit and the sun/moon racer.

Ducati still on the path of 'paying for a rider is better than fixing the bike', despite the fact that the riders they are paying for cannot overcome the limitations of the bike. Solution? Offer more money to lead rider.

They just don't get it, and faced with their own limitations, they act irrationally. I truly hope that something changes there - otherwise Nicky and (Cal?) will be even further behind next year.

The bike needs a ground up redesign, not a frame built to rotate the existing engine, and hand the other parts onto. Take some of Rossi's millions and build some new engines and chassis...

re: "otherwise Nicky and (Cal?) will be even further behind next year. "

not if the lights on grandprix are turned out.

re: "We realize that after being tricked by a hacked Twitter and email account, our credibility has suffered when it comes to Rossi's move to Yamaha."

it means nothing.

>>Ducati may find themselves in a quandary: having a man widely acknowledged as one of the best and most sensitive development riders under contract

Every Ducati rider has been saying the same thing as Rossi- lack of front end feel. Rossi has not given any magic feedback to Corse that other riders have been unable to. With nearly 2 years of poor results due to lack of bike development progress I would think that the term 'development rider' would be put out to pasture. What we have seen (no suprise here) is that the Japanese race departments have a rigorous development process that is very effective when compared to Ducati's seemingly directionless development path.

Their attempted headhunting of Furusawa only underlines this fact. They don't need better riders, better engineers, new CNC equipment, etc. What they need is someone at the top that has a deep understanding of bike dynamics, group organization and how to achieve real world results through the application of abstract engineering principles.

Either that or they keep iterating until they accidentally come up with a solution.


What they need is someone at the top that has a deep understanding of bike dynamics, group organization and how to achieve real world results through the application of abstract engineering principles.

Yeah, those types of engineers are working on more interesting problems.

Either that or they keep iterating until they accidentally come up with a solution.

I think most people call that "experience." ;-)

"Rossi has not given any magic feedback to Corse that other riders have been unable to."

Have you been privy to inside information that no one else has? I don't recall ever seeing transcriptions of every word riders say to their engineers.... Maybe you should try not to make such sweeping generalisations based on not much evidence. In fact, the fact he is acknowledged as a good development rider by many people in many teams in MotoGP, people who all have much more knowledge and experience than you, should be enough to prevent you from staying nonsensical things like this. We often hear of some riders being praised for their feedback and development skills, not just Rossi but others like Edwards and Bradl, are you going to state that Edwards is a bad development rider now as well because the Forward racing CRT bike has struggled? Think about it please.

>>Have you been privy to inside information that no one else has?

>>Maybe you should try not to make such sweeping generalisations based on not much evidence

There is plenty of evidence, just look at the results. 2 years of changing the entire bike design at Rossi's behest with no progress with all the riders still complaining about the same behavior. The pre-Rossi results were argueably better than the post-Rossi results. Ignoring Stoner and using Hayden as a control he was starting to get his head around the bike and do well at the end of 2010. Since they have been changing the bike significantly his results have slightly worsened. Surely that is not solely due to Rossi but if the bike is not 'developing' it is a because the riders and technicians cannot between them narrow down the problem area to something that the engineers can design and test proposed solutions to. My take away from that is Rossi is not providing any greater insight to the situation than other riders have.

>>are you going to state that Edwards is a bad development rider now as well because the Forward racing CRT bike has struggled. Think about it please.

I do think about it. A lot. Likely too much. Since you brought him up if he was such a good 'development' rider why is the bike not developing? He didn't do so well developing the Aprilia either. Any ideas why? I think Michelin liked him because he was very repeatable so testing could be done with one less variable (rider performance) to account for. Yamaha (and Rossi) liked him because he was a consistent tester and a consistent non-threat to Rossi. I think what the issue is is that the Suter team and resources they have do not know/cannot accomplish what to do with the feedback that he is giving. Feedback any top level rider could give.

>>and Bradl

What has Bradl 'developed'? Like every other rider: nothing.

My post was about dispelling the 'best development rider' myth. I stand by it. Rossi has landed in the best of teams with the best equipment throughout his carear. Yes, he won tons of races and titles and fully deserved those wins, but as is now clearly apparent you need top kit to get top results. To me (an engineer) also handing Rossi the credits for 'developing' a bike takes credit away from the people that actually deserve it: the factory engineers.


My point is, that there is more going on in any situation than just how good the riders feedback is. As you eluded to yourself, the japanese R&D machine is far more effective. The best feedback in the world won't result in a good bike without the required effort and work from the factory. Which clearly hasn't happened with Ducati. So your opinion based on 'observation', as you say, is circumstantial at best.

Bradl has been praised for the quality of his feedback, which is what we are talking about here isn't it. So, some riders are praised by their teams for their feedback and others are not, this would indicate some riders give more detailed and accurate feedback than others. Rossi has long been considered one of the best at this and I don't see why that should have changed. If you recall he publicly complained earlier this year that Ducati hadn't made the changes he wanted. In other words his feedback seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

And while Ducati may have changed their bike more since the start of 2011 than in the previous years when compared with the development of others it is fairly limited. Look at Honda, they already have the 2013 spec bike running for Pedrosa, they have tried several new chassis this year to try and solve the chatter issue. What have Ducati had since the start of the season? A new swingarm, new electronics and a few little bits and pieces.

It is also problematic to try to gauge the quality of the bike based on results from one year to the next as the field changes every year. So you could say the Ducati has got worse relative to Honda and Yamaha. But considering Hayden said the GP12 is the best Ducati he's ever ridden it might not be fair to say it has got worse overall, don't you think? Since Stoners WC on the Ducati his and Hayden's results were actually steadily worsening one year to the next.

"Feedback any top level rider could give." Again this is a problem I have with your posts, how do you know this? You are stating your opinion as fact. As you are 'an engineer' I would have though you would understand the importance of not making assumptions. You, and the rest of us, should accept we do not have all the info and the info we do have is likely not enough to make such BIG statements.

But then, you seem to think your opinion based on your incredible observations is better than the opinion of MotoGP professionals and journalists. So Rossi and Edwards can't develop bikes and Bradl!? who the hell is Bradl, only the Moto2 world champion, what does he know! I bow to your superior knowledge.

In a discussion about the development skills of riders it shouldn't be necessary to 'big up' the engineers at the end of every statement. It goes without saying that the engineers design and build the bike but a large part of their design decisions should be based on feedback from the riders... duh.

My original post was to dispel the myth of Rossi, or anyone, as a development rider.

>>Bradl has been praised for the quality of his feedback, which is what we are talking about here isn't it.

No, feedback is one thing, being a development rider is something else, which I think is a myth, hence my original post. Maybe we're beating the dead horse of nomenclature but IMO feedback is one thing and development is another. Feedback is the rider says the bike is doing X, I would like it to do Y, then the rest of the team goes about figuring out how to accomplish that, which is the development part.

>>If you recall he publicly complained earlier this year that Ducati hadn't made the changes he wanted. In other words his feedback seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Or his feedback on how the bike behaves was not able to be turned into concrete steps to improve the bike by the factory engineers. In other words his feedback was not able to be turned into positive development. By who? The engineers, not Rossi.

>>"Feedback any top level rider could give." Again this is a problem I have with your posts, how do you know this?

I didn't say any rider, just the top ones. I say this because most of the crew chiefs of the top riders have been interviewed and say their riders give good feedback. Also because the proof is in the results. Why do Yamaha have a great bike? Because Yamaha engineers took Jorge's feedback and improved the bike. The HRCVP said the same about Stoner and Pedrosa. I think it is hard to be a top rider without being able to give great feedback. Without that a crew will have a hard time tuning the bike every weekend in various conditions.

>>But then, you seem to think your opinion based on your incredible observations is better than the opinion of MotoGP professionals and journalists

I am just posting my opinion on the comments section of an internet site. Agree or not as you will but it is only my opinion. And everyone knows MotoGP professionals or journalists never make mistakes. My bad, I'll accept whatever is reported on the internets from now on.

>>In a discussion about the development skills of riders it shouldn't be necessary to 'big up' the engineers at the end of every statement.

Why not? In all this discussion I have not heard Yamaha's engineering department mentioned much and that is the real reason Rossi is going back. They currently have a winning bike that Rossi feels confident that he could win on. Why? Because of Yamaha engineers. He knows they can translate his feedback into a winning bike, something Ducati has been unable to do. They are largely unsung heroes and I felt like pointing it out. I did it once in my post, not bigging them up at the end of every statment. Unless maybe your incredible reading comprehension skills saw all my invisivble bigging up. And even if I did, so what? Its my comment to write as I see fit.


This is just going to go on and on.... so for the sake of my sanity I'll just say this. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to be able to express their opinion. However opinion based on observations of this nature are subjective and open to interpretation; for this reason it is important that opinions are expressed as just that, opinions and not expressed as facts. You have had a habit on these posts of expressing your opinion as fact which is the reason you have had this reaction from me. If you think the results of the past couple of years mean Rossi is no development rider then fair enough but you can't state that as a fact because it is just your opinion.

And, the proof is in the results? That's a bit too simplistic because again none of us know what is being said and going on behind the scenes. We can speculate as to what might be the factors involved but you can't say for sure. Additionally, HRC made a great bike before Stoner arrived, it has arguably got worse since he started riding for them but then I couldn't say the bike has got worse because Stoner's feedback is no good, as that would be too simplistic and it would be ignoring the myriad other factors involved in bike development.

So just to reiterate, please be careful not to express your opinion as fact because it is not fact.

When I post comments they are what I believe the situation to be. My take on it. I use words like 'I think' and 'my opinion' in my posts to get that across. I find it incredible that you think I need to explicitly make a disclaimer that my comments are opinion, not fact, in a comment gallery. We are all here posting our opinions. I do use facts to base my opinion on but my opinion is just that, an opinion. Are your posts facts or your opinion? Even though you use 'fact' several times and don't use the word 'opinion' anywhere we all understand they are your opinion. The only time I used the word 'fact' was in saying that the Japanese R&D is more effective than Ducati's and I don't think that is too hard to accept. You accepted it.

>>If you think the results of the past couple of years mean Rossi is no development rider then fair enough but you can't state that as a fact because it is just your opinion.

As stated in my original post 'With nearly 2 years of poor results due to lack of bike development progress I would think that the term 'development rider' would be put out to pasture.'

'I would think' is the phrase you should pay attention to. It signifies that this is my opinion. Your bringing the argument to places I never brought up does nothing to change the fact that the sentence is stated as my opinion and no facts that you have brought up make me feel any different on the subject or how I discuss it.

I'll keep expressing my opinion however I see fit, subject to DE's efforts at keeping the place respectable.


It takes more than a rider to develop a bike. They can give the best feedback in the world and it'll be for naught if the team can't or won't make the necessary adjustments. A=rider's development ability, B=team's development ability, C=resulting development. A*B=C. 100*0=0. You can't judge one of these factors purely by the results.

"Good feedback" from a rider is about consistency. That's likely why Michelin loves Colin Edwards. You change the bike blind, and he could probably tell you what was changed. A lot of racers simply are not that sensitive. Ask them twice, and get two different answers. Send some back out on the same bike with no changes, and they'll come back with completely different feedback. Development engineers simply can't work with such inconsistency. They would much rather work with a slower rider/driver who will tell them useful things than a speed demon who can't.

Stoner is obviously and exceptional rider. Whether his feedback at Ducati was any good or not is hard to say. I have a hard time believing guys at this level are that confused. But, he does seem to complain a lot about Bridgestone right now.

Ducati lucked into a talent like Stoner who knew how to ride the bike he was given. Right now they have Rossi riding the Duc wishing it was a Yamaha. And, Preziosi not capable of designing a bike to suit.

The characteristics of the Ducati probably didn't bother Stoner, who probably thought if this is how the bike wants to behave to go fast, he'd just hang on and see what happens. Maybe the whole time he was hanging on, he was telling Preziosi, "hey, the bike may be a lot better if it did (or didn't) do..." Whereas, the other Ducati riders, including Rossi, want the bike to behave in a very specific way. And, any deviation from that obviously bothers them a lot. Rossi and Stoner may be telling Preziosi the exact same things.

You have to ride the bike that you have, not the bike you wish you have. That's probably what Stoner does better than anybody else.

What you say is right but don't forget the more objective fact is that the riders keep falling off the ducati because of the front. All the riders found this but the fastsest ones fell off the most.

Rossi, at this stage in his career, isn't interested in falling off the bike; can't blame him. He did his share of falling and being tossed in his early days at Honda.

Win, win situation for Yamaha as far as I can see... Shrewd move.

Only short term if anything, 2 years and he's out. The implied statement from Yamaha is that there's no young talent out there that they feel they can build into a world class rider. I will be absolutely shocked if Rossi beats Lorenzo in a straight fight, even once.

Their hope seems to be that they can squeeze a bunch of marketing dollars out of The Rossi™ and feel that's a good investment. Maybe take some points away from Lorenzo's real competitors and hope that they can win the WC. Lorenzo doesn't need the help with Stoner leaving, Marquez is at least a year out and Pedrosa is a known quantity.

It's really sad, Yamaha have gone for dollars over sporting integrity IMO. MotoGP is still dependent on Rossi. Ducati have failed to make a good bike (Nicky is still struggling away). Rossi has failed to get to grips with the bike that he and Burgess both ragged on Stoner and Gabbarini about. Ducati have yet to learn the lesson that so many riders have paid the price to teach them.

What's the silver lining here? That the Rossi fans get to see Rossi on arguably the best bike on the grid? IMO this does more to tarnish his reputation than staying at Ducati, he's admitted defeat and gone back to safe territory.

MotoGP is absolutely a better show when Rossi is doing well but this is the move of an imminent retiree, not the GOAT. So sad to see those days have past. I hope Rossi can find his fire again because he'll look even worse if Lorenzo destroys him.

How is hiring one of the most capable riders out there dollars rather than sporting integrity? Two years of having the two best riders is nothing to sneeze at. My money's still on Lorenzo for next year but I can't fault Yamaha for hiring one of the only riders who can realistically challenge him.

Because it's a short term investment in racing and a long term investment in money/marketing. Makes good sense for the company but when Rossi leaves in 2 years and JB retires too, they're going to lose both the rider and crew chief at the same time.

Lorenzo is at his peak right now, when does he start trailing off? 2 years? 3? Who's going to be his challenger for the next two years? Not Rossi, not at least not for next year. Not Pedrosa. Maybe MM in 2014 at which point Rossi's out, MM is a big threat and who do they put up against MM then?

Obviously a lot of assumptions in here that are my opinion.

re: "I will be absolutely shocked if Rossi beats Lorenzo in a straight fight, even once."

i wouldn't. we're talking 1000cc crossplanes at 20 paces. rossi's got back the 200cc's, he was sorely missing from the previous era... and an extra 10cc's over the 990's ta boot.

If Dorna succeed in bringing in spec ECUs before Rossi retires (2014 season?), then he surely will have an advantage, as one of the few riders left on the grid with experience of the early fire-breathing 990s that weren't shackled by electronics. I'd expect Hayden to potentially also do much better - if he's there.

Cecchinelli even said it was nearly a goal for the spec ECU to be less sophisticated than the current ECU when it comes to things like TC, in his recent MotoMatters interview on the topic:

" If one rider complains that his traction control was better with the factory's own ECU, that will not be a drawback of the system. It's almost a design target, to make it worse."

Deliberately turning down the electronics to increase the show may well be a goal (should be?), alongside the explicit goal of reducing costs.

... we also get to see Rossi's marketing value so many have been espousing. I'm sure Yamaha's sales numbers will see a big bump next year in Asia. (not)

Can' say I understand the angst over Ducati's future R/D efforts. Is there some reason they can't or won't give the freaking parts to Hayden and Martinez? What am I missing?

"though the appeal of the Italian is undiminished - his name is far, far bigger than the sport, a risk to the future of the series itself once he retires"...DE

Not exactly an objective dispassionate appraisal of the last 2 years. Considering the current economic climate & VR's latest co-starring (cameo?) role in the show, if anything, have demonstrated MotoGP AR (After Rossi) future is secure. Yes, the yellow horde will disappear (loss?) eventually to be replaced by other "part-time" fans...but the core love the sport & will sustain it.

How many sports have "survived" & fluorised after a giant has left...Jordan, Gretzky, Petty, Earnhardt, Retton, Senna, Schumacher, Doohan, Woods &&&&& ? No one is far, far, bigger than their sport! If there wasn't MotoGP..would you have ever heard of V. Rossi?

"There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept."

The above will always be true for hardcore fans (anyone reading & commenting here or anywhere else).

That doesn't mean the sport as a whole will be in a healthy state of affairs when Rossi retires. Especially considering the direction the powers that be are steering the ship at the moment.

re: "How many sports have "survived" & fluorised after a giant has left...Jordan, Gretzky, Petty, Earnhardt, Retton, Senna, Schumacher, Doohan, Woods &&&&& ? No one is far, far, bigger than their sport!"

except you're overlooking a critical fact that those sports (nba, nhl, nascar, f1, etc) are GIANTS in of themselves. contrast this to the 3% of the population that consume motorcycling. less than 1% of this 3% is the MotoGP fan. ross is the proverbial "big fish"...

Yup, "those sports (nba, nhl, nascar) are GIANTS in of themselves"; that is why the respective champion calls himself "WORLD CHAMPION" ("Miami Heat, the two time NBA WORLD CHAMPS" + LeBum James, the one time NBA WORLD CHAMP; Earnhardt Sen., not a/the 7time NASCAR "hillbilly champion" but world champion!" ... who apart from the US cares about NASCAR?).

This isn´t arrogance, this is pure ridiculousness... (according to the motto: "why is our oil under your islamic sand?").

No offense meant! Just a little bit provocative ...

Love+Peace (LP) from Germany ...

re: "But the move - indeed, the threat of a Rossi departure - has already had a massive effect on Ducati. The Corse department are scheduled to hold a major meeting this week, to discuss their R&D strategy and plan for the rest of the season."

exended vacation.

re: "Rossi's leaving will have a major impact on the testing schedule, and cause Ducati to rethink their R&D efforts."

after which they come back rested and ready to go all in on WSBK. what...? you think they hired bayliss and built all that tech into the 1199/superquadro for buzzing coffee shops...??? :)

All that and the 1199 doesn't seem so good. So unimpressive in fact that Checa is looking for a different ride.

There is a long well-established history in motorsports of the top pilots chasing the top equipment. It is silly to say Rossi is a failure because he did not bring the Ducati to the front. It would have been a great story if he had been able to achieve that, but he didn't, so on to his Plan B. Deal with it. To say the Ducati episode defines his legacy is beyond silly, IMO.

There was a fervent school of thought that prescribed to the notion that no rider on the planet could do anything that Rossi could not do better.

That idea is now dead thankfully.

While this flop most certainly DOESN'T define him, there's now a dent where none had existed before...

I dont think anything has changed.The only thing is that Yamaha is going to be constructors and world champions.The notion that rossi was the top "developmental rider" was nothing but a fancy magazine word created by journalists around the world.Somebody of rossi's calibre dosen't endorse that.I watch him only for his racing skills and his personality and nothing else.

The only thing that matters to racers at this levels is victories and being able to perform on the top,thats it.You have proved nothing out of the ordinary concerning rossi as a rider, true fans are more than happy to see him back on the Yamaha and only ignorant people believe that he won't be able to match lorenzo.Wait and watch!

re: "the underlying truth remains. Rossi left Honda for Yamaha to demonstrate that the rider was more important than the bike. His return to Yamaha from Ducati demonstrates that this is only true up to a point. There is a basic level of performance that is needed from the bike for a rider such as Rossi to be able to perform."

"no amount of rider talent can overcome recalcitrant kit". i coined this phrase more than a decade ago. could'a saved himself a whole lotta time and heartache. :)

this is MOTOR sport. we seem to have lost touch with the fact that at no point have we EVER run foot races inside an olympic stadium...? the same way a bad bike will find you a chronic backmarker (see entry for suzuki motogp)... the reverse holds true... the better a bike can be made, the greater the chance of victory. soichiro and furusawa knew this to be true.

I'd love to hear David's insight on Yamaha's rationale here. I have no idea if Rossi will consistently challenge Jorge, but I'm sure Rossi will be instantly competitive. With a solid #2 rider next to Jorge (to nick occasional points off Dani and Marquez), Yamaha is very likely to dominate motogp for several years. Rossi will never be content to be a "solid #2" rider so I suspect he'll do everything in his power to be #1 again (i.e., nicking points from Jorge whenever he can). How is this good for Yamaha? Does anyone think this actually hurts Yamaha's chances of capturing/keeping the title in 2013/14???

re: "With a solid #2 rider next to Jorge (to nick occasional points off Dani and Marquez), Yamaha is very likely to dominate motogp for several years."

they did it for years WITHOUT a solid #2 rider (and they're about to do it again THIS year). guess what... they don't care.

re: "Rossi will never be content to be a "solid #2" rider so I suspect he'll do everything in his power to be #1 again (i.e., nicking points from Jorge whenever he can). How is this good for Yamaha?"

oh it's great...! who it's not good for is LORENZO. if rossi brings main sponsor cash as rumored...? it's a wrap. it's j-lo who's going to be getting the short end. no 2-ways about it. lorenzo in all his "spanishness" has simply not been able to attract investment. hell, not even the year of his championship defense...!?!? nothing personal, just business. i don't like it, but i don't get to make that choice.

re: "Does anyone think this actually hurts Yamaha's chances of capturing/keeping the title in 2013/14???"

nope, yamaha knows only 1 man can wear the crown come november. the FIM doesn't award co-championships. there will always be a #1... and a #2... this is the way of things. two #1's is the domain of "fantasy roadracing", not reality roadracing.

Perhaps I didn't articulate my point clearly. What happens if Jorge and Rossi split race wins for Yamaha while Dani gets all the Honda wins (presumably Marquez won't be winning races in 2013)? That increases Honda's chance of taking the championship. My point is that Yamaha maximizes its chance of winning the title if they have a lead rider and a solid #2 that's gets lots of podiums but generally doesn't finish ahead of the lead rider. This has always been the case during Rossi's 2004-2009 Yamaha years (and even his Honda 2001-2003 years). Rossi himself has previously stated that a team should have a #1 and #2 rider (...which is one reason he left Yamaha after 2011 when they refused to "keep" Jorge behind Rossi - you may recall Rossi's objection to Jorge getting equal equipment/treatment in 2010). In 2013, it could very well be that Rossi (assuming he won't be a "solid #2" rider) and Jorge end up nicking points off each other...making it more likely Dani wins the championship with Jorge/Rossi close behind in 2nd/3rd.

Seasons don't play out that way though, and that scenario only matters if Pedrosa consistently finishes ahead of at least one of the Yamaha riders. Anytime it's a Yamaha 1-2 they will both be gaining and advantage over Pedrosa.

Also, even though Yamaha will probably win the rider's title this year with Lorenzo, Honda will definitely win the team championship and are tied for the constructors championship. Rossi/Lorenzo are favorites for the riders championship next year, and probably have the other titles wrapped up already.

Yamaha's rationale is to lock out the top two podium positions at every race, much like Senna v Prost at McLaren. Expect the odd intervention from Pedrosa, maybe even a shock from Marquez but next year surely looks like being a two horse race. I just hope its a close one.

While it'll be nice to see him back up front next year... I'd think considering his age it would be a much bigger feather in his cap to say he was instrumental in bringing Ducati back in a way that carried it forward into the future for success with different riders. Even if it wasn't him sitting on it when it did start winning again.

It's a more realistic role that could keep him instrumental part of the game for many years to come, and be a good challenge.

Too bad his ambition is greater than his patriotism. Good for us for 2013 & 2014.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Rossi won't be Lorenzo's teammate next year, due to Jorge's Rockstar Energy sponsorship. With Rossi's Monster sponsorship, I bet it will be Rossi/Smith at Tech 3 next year.

Ben's Monster sponsorship caused no such difficulties with Lorenzo's Rock Star sponsorship. Those are individual, not team sponsorships.

Dovi will hopefully stay with Tech3 as he suits the Yamaha well (and vice versa).

If the factory team becomes "Monster Yamaha" there's no way they'd allow Jorge to keep his personal Rockstar sponsor.

"The latest rumor bubbling in the European media cauldrons has Rossi bringing personal sponsor Monster Energy Drink and Italian snack food manufacturer San Carlo to Yamaha. It's uncertain how that would affect Monster's title sponsorship of the Tech 3 Yamaha team and San Carlo's longtime backing of the Gresini Honda team."


Whilst I don't agree that Rossi would accept a move to tech3 I do think you have hit on the bigger question to be answered. Yamaha only want Rossi back so they can pay the bills. I suspect any objections from jl would get a simple answer go find a sponsor or shut up. But I also don't think Herve would accept Yamaha taking away his title sponsor (apart from the fact it would be another financial mistake). The sponsor has to be somebody else?!? There was a rumour of coca cola wanting in on the action a while back but that related to Rossi having a factory Honda in a team of his own. Another story story ran that Rossi would walk with Philip Morris as his backer (again I don't think he would as he isn't keen on the fag sponsors (although he took the money when he went to Ducati)), no I think the backer may be closer to home, fiat maybe he sold a lot of 500's for them. Diesel, they sponsored Ducati because of Rossi. What we do know is it must be a company with large marketing resources, maybe a new player (energy drinks are so old hat) what about Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, BP, Shell, Petronas, Sky, nastro (they sponsored him before).

I really feel there is a big company that has all the answers and it isn't Ducati or Yamaha...

re: "There was a rumour of coca cola wanting in on the action"

while they wouldn't miss the money, coke doesn't give a crap about the "action". coke sponsors things like the GAMES OF THE 30TH OLYMPIAD and did so for decades during the "cola wars" when it established itself as a global brand. in fact, MotoGP would be better served paying to list itself on CANS OF COKE... not the other way 'round.

Ducati should give Casey some 20 millions for a season, to persuade him to stay, just to proove that he can beat the GOAT (again)!

Which makes me wonder if Casey would ever do wildcard rides... He still loves racing and I imagine MotoGP would be tolerable for him one race out of the year.

Casey did mention in a recent interview, I think it may be here on this site, that he could come back "for a ride" and it sounded like he would. So yes, very much a possibility.

He just doesn't want to live 24/7 the MotoGP political mess any longer.

That's within the context of racing and all of the other time commitments he has as a MotoGP rider. If testing is the ONLY thing you do, and you get paid a bunch of money to do it, I suspect he might have a totally different view - it's effectively paid track days.

Can't remember where I read that interview. He said that he'd still like to get a wild card ride at his home GP. But he didn't know whether he would still be able to keep up the pace if he doesn't race regularly.

Times on the Ducati, which is the basis of comparison, and which Valentino invited by 'verballing' Stoner when he first arrived at Ducati?

"Don't forget that before Vale left Yamaha, he beat Casey 4 out of 5 years"

Yes, because Stoner was bringing a knife to a gunfight.

What Laguna 2008 actually showed the world was that Stoner could equal Rossi's on-track performance while on a bike so inferior that almost no-one else could make it perform. Put Stoner on a Honda or Yamaha in that race and Rossi would not have seen which way Stoner went.

i believe now it will be even more important for ducati to get some serious results next year ... if not ... it is all over for them ... no more motoGP ...

is it possible that stoner (if he does not win the championship this year - which is very likely as it stands now) will be motivated (and also motivated by PM) enough to make a ducati return?

ooooh how i would wish this ...

as for rossi ... i think it will do him more harm than another bad season at ducati would ... bad results at ducati = bad bike, bad results at yamaha = bad rossi. and bad results at yamaha is being behind JL99.

Valentino's failure to score even one win on a Ducati MotoGP bike has simply highlighted what a huge talent Casey Stoner is. Valentino demanded, and was granted, more changes to the Ducati MotoGP project in the past 18 months than Stoner enjoyed in four years. But Stoner won on every iteration of MotoGP Ducati that he raced. These are the facts. Anyone want to bet that Rossi or Hayden will match the race time at Aragon this year that Nicky set on the carbon-fibre 800 in 2010? Bet they don't. So much for Rossi's development skills. Poof, gone in a puff of dust...

Please list the changes referred to, if you wouldn't mind (so often we hear about 'all the changes that were made.' It's clear the fundamental issues of the machine remain largely unchanged.
Even JB was bemoaning the fact they need new cases so they have flexibility in positioning the rear sprocket - months on: nothing).

Ducati did go through a large number of changes, but they were unable to deliver many successful ones. The complaints about the bike today are the same as before Rossi arrived, so while the effort may have been there for Ducati, they failed build a competitive bike.

Please list the changes referred to - thanks in advance.

"Qatar 2012. After three chassis for the 800cc machine and two for the 1000cc bike, Rossi finds himself only a little better off than at the start of the process. The latest iteration of the GP12 - the bike completely redesigned from the ground up between the Valencia test in 2011 and Sepang in 2012 - does at least respond to setup changes in a way that previous Ducatis never have, but the core of the problem remains: a lack of feel from the front end, and a tendency to run wide in the corners. The bike is better, but it still has the fundamental flaws that the Desmosedici has had in every iteration since its inception."


On top of that there have been different swingarms, different swingarm suspension linkages, different tripleclamps, different forks, different bodywork (when they decided that maybe changing the seating position could help)... then all the different set-ups, culminating in Rossi adopting the 'long and low' geometry that Hayden uses... still without results.

the fundamental problem, or problems, remain unchanged.
The tech write up in GPone a few weeks back might be close to home.

Rossi tried for 2 years , to no avail. He made the right call.

Ducati are probably not worse off without him. They better spend their 17 million on engineers and R&D.

I'm just putting it out there.... What if Rossi still hovers around 5th-10th next year on the M1...

I'm pretty sure that he wont be able to touch Jorge over the next season even on the same machinery. With Casey out of the way, that leaves Dani, Dovi, and Cal fighting for the last podium places (depending on wether Cal flings his legs over the ducati or not. If he does, he's out of the picture aswell.).

So, sadly... I think that Rossi will be in that mix if riders at best.. But I'm hoping soooo much that I'm wrong...

So it's August of 2012 and Preziosi has already acknowledge that the 2013 Ducati won't be competitive at the beginning of the season? REALLY?? Already?? Jeez.....

Rossi next book guaranteed to be a number one best seller. Juicy.

Whether or not there is any truth to the WSBK after two years really makes me think about how deep in the poop motogp is. I mean there are only four bikes capable of winning a race. The tech threes are amazing but only look fab because they are the third fastest bike on the grid.

The really big winner is Yamaha, they get Rossi wall to wall coverage/publicity. They get the next two years riders one - two championships with either Lorenzo or Rossi. Oh yeah and he brings bags and bags of money. But wait there is more they say he is then going to race for Yamaha in WSBK wow. Man I will be loving it. I just wish WSBK was on free to air in Australia.

The other big winner is WSBK if it is true that Rossi goes to that championship. It may rock the series up a few notches in terms of its presentation. It could be a massive turning point with the demise of motogp as the premier series. Already we are seeing quality motogp riders look to move to WSBK rather than ride a losing bike in motogp, Dovi etc.

I think there is no way out for motogp, its just too expensive and nigh impossible to catch up to the Yamaha and Honda now. The only way out for motogp is to basically become WSBK. They need to let manufacturers race their production bikes with massive mods, but only mods that could be relevant to road bikes. That's what I would like to see.

"nigh impossible to catch up to the Yamaha and Honda now"

That same statement could have been said going back to 1983, with 3 exceptions. Seems like MotoGP is humming along as it has for a long time (nearly 30 of 63 years it's been in existence).

1993 - Schwantz Suzuki - the year Rainey had his accident.
2000 - KR Jr Suzuki
2007 - Stoner Ducati

Anyone who's ever accomplished anything has tried and failed multiple times before they achieve success. So no the title wouldn't be, "Wish I'd never tried it." If you always play it safe you'll never know what it's like to win.

Although I have mixed feelings about Rossi leaving Ducati (there was a time, when he was with Yamaha, that I wanted him to go to Ducati and ride for free). Shows how much I know. I think it is probably the best decision to go back to Yamaha. Ducati has just not kept up with the rest...that is all there is to it. He does not have a lot of time left in MotoGP and it will be good to see him on a competetive ride again. I hope, for everyone's sake he still has what it takes. I have a gut feeling he may be better than ever on the Yamaha, after so much time on the evil Ducati.

Anyone that has ever raced a motorcycle (or anything else) and loved the feeling, but had a slow bike, kind of knows what he has been going through. Real racers "RACE" they don't ride and I don't know anyone who is, or was, a real racer that felt like a winner when they were finishing back in the pack (second on back). The feeling of winning is why people race! It doesn't matter how much $ you make (the $ help, when you don't win) but the great racers do it for the feeling of the win.

Sponsorship: That is going to be BIG! Rossi is the master of getting backers, good ones, with deep pockets. I for one am really anxious to find out who his sponsor will be.

Hopefully Mr. Personality (Lin Jarvis) will lose his job if Rossi brings a major sponsor with him. I was happy to see FIAT walk away from Yamaha when Rossi left. A good race manager would have had others waiting in the wings (YES, they are still out there) but one meeting with Yamaha's race director would probably be enough for any sponsor run the other direction.

So, who is it going to be? I guess we wait - and speculate.

There will be huge knock-on affects if (when) Rossi goes back to Yamaha.
* Spies will go back to WSBKs
* Cal will go to Ducati and go backwards
* Dovi could also leave and go to WSBK
* Ducati will only stay around for next year then pull out of MotoGP if no results

So we will be left with 4 riders then a huge gap.
Jorge will win nearly every race - going by this year only beaten once by one rider other than Casey)
Dani will push him but always the bridesmaid
Marquez will be 4th at the start of the year and move to 3rd or 2nd by year end
Rossi will get podiums as the odds are in his favor but will he go a 2nd year if beaten by Jorge all year?

I'm no big fan of Rossi off the track but I love his "never say die" racing attitude when on it. He will add a lot of badly needed interest to the races next year. and dont write off his chances of winning a few. Jorge cant say too much without looking threatened or churlish but he wouldnt be happy.
The Rossi brand has taken a hammering in the last couple of years and to be honest, Rossi has kept a level of dignity about it. He would have been all too aware of the comparisons back to Stoner on the same bike...that was once he realised the mistake he'd made in switching.
For Joe Public Valentino Rossi is Motogp. The sport needs him back at or near the top again.

Yamaha MotoGP, and especially manager Lin Jarvis, knowing that Valentino Rossi was miserable at Ducati and his contract would expire at the end of this year, decided to get Rossi back on the team. But how could he do that if they have world champ Jorge Lorenzo and solid 4th alien Ben Spies? He wouldn’t dare (and wouldn’t want to) lose Jorge, and he couldn’t justify terminating Ben Spies if he’s in the mix with the aliens and potentially winning races.

So the answer is clear. Make sure Ben doesn’t have a good year. QED. It’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.

Since when do they need to justify anything ?

Yamaha are paying the bills, so they get to hand out the pink slip as they choose.

It just wasn't working for Spies, and he knew it better than anyone... so he jumped rather than be pushed.

Put Ben out on bikes that break frames, break swingarms, chunk tires give him faulty helmet visors and food poisoning? Criminal.

Just fire him and give him a chance to 'quit' and save face all around- likely.

Yes, it would be criminal and I'd argue that you need some pretty good evidence before making such a serious allegation. It's certainly believable that Yamaha wouldn't give Spies the level of support they've given Lorenzo but to suggest that they'd intentionally endanger him goes well beyond that.

Are we really counting Ben as an "alien"? One race win, one pole and a small handful of podiums does not make an alien.

how about a really fast second pack rider?

Definitely got mixed opinions on this one!
1) I'm not a big Rossi fan but in reality, you can't blame Rossi for going back to Yamaha. 2 years on a bike that constantly fights him with only a "lucky" podium to show for it, most people would give up. He's a racer at the end of the day and racers want to win races.
2) I do however think Yamaha are taking him back for the wrong reasons and denying Dovi or Cal a chance. Yamaha will have to hope Rossi gets back to his competitive ways ASAP.
3) It then makes it look likely that Cal will go to Ducati. He maintains his best chance of fighting for the title is to be on a factory bike. This makes sense at Yamaha but would you take the factory ride in a team that you are currently consistently beating on a Satellite....?

Audi will be regretting Rossi's decision but I do not think they will remove their support immediately. They will incease their focus on getting the bike to the front, and this in turn will make their participation even more rewarding in terms of product development kudos. If, in two years, nothing improves then you can expect Audi accountants to make the 'tough decisions'.

Dornia has themselves to blame for the 'iconic status' of one rider (Vale). For too many years the price of putting competitive bikes into the hands of more riders has been ridiculous. The factories do not WANT alternative results, 6 bikes with a chance of winning suits them just fine. Hence Vale does appear bigger than the sport, which is farcical. A world class sport being run in a nepotistic and indulgent way by Southern Europeans that are agents for their own importance. Dornia needs to set the rules WITHOUT factory input and then make access to race video and marketing material much more available and rewarding, then and only then, will big international sponsers find their way to the race teams' doors. Loosen the controls and get a little less of a much bigger pie, but 'dumb arse decisions rule' at Dornia.

Vale has left Stoner an invaluable legacy, by proving his arch-rival's greatness, Vale now faces even more pressure. He cannot afford failure at Yamaha, as this would damage the great champion's reputation forever. He'll face questions about the past championships inlcuding the use of specialised one-off tyres only available to him and so on, we and the sport do not want that.

God help the M1 now that the development genius is back.

I can't really blame Rossi for wanting a winning bike now, given his age... and being out of contention for 2 years. The motivation to prove that he still got it would be very big i reckon. Yes, he was mistaken into assuming to do the same to Ducati what they did with Yamaha on '04, but it's part of a racer's M.O. i guess... to have a huge drive (some might call ego) to prove they are the best. Making huge money in the process ain't a bad way to be proven wrong.

Personally though, it's a shame that the marriage between the 2 italian icons didn't pan out as planned. I guess in hindsight, the rule changes (spec tires, limited engines, less fuel in the tank) have in a way contributed for the inability for Ducati to close the gap to its rivals. To think that Rossi himself was partly (or some may say majorly) responsible for taking away the tire wars and as a result removed 1 of the unique advantages the Corse team had against it rivals is a bit of an irony. The Desmo was after all competitive in the 03-06 era against the RC211V, the best bike of the era. And that was before Mr. Stoner came to the Bologna show.

The 990cc Ducati was competitive in its first MotoGP season, with nine podium finishes, three for Troy Bayliss and six for Loris Capirossi, including a win at Catalunya. The next year (2004) the bike was 'improved' and scored just two podiums (one each for Capirossi and Bayliss). In 2005 Ducati more than doubled its podium count from the previous year with four for Capirossi, including consecutive wins in Japan and Malaysia while Carlos Checa scored a pair of podiums (Malaysia and Australia). In 2006 things improved some more, with Capirossi winning the first race of the season at Jerez and going on to score seven more podiums (including two more wins) to finish the season third. So Capirossi won more races that year than eventual Champion Nicky Hayden on the Honda V5. Sete Gibernau failed to put his Ducati onto the podium in any race and after crashing in the warm-up at Estoril, then getting knocked out of the race by a high-siding Casey Stoner (LCR Honda), Gibernau was unable to race the final event of the season due to a broken collarbone. Thus recently crowned Superbike World Champ Troy Bayliss was drafted in as a replacement, led every lap at Valencia and won the race. I believe Bayliss led more laps in that one race than Hayden did all year. There were 21 bikes on the grid for that race, with six makes (including the Ilmor V4) represented. All told, seven (7) riders won at least one MotoGP race that year. In 2007, Casey Stoner climbed onto the unfamiliar 800cc Ducati and scored 14 podiums, including 10 race wins. Capirossi scored three podiums, including the win at Motegi. So 2007 is by far Ducati's most successful season in MotoGP - a total of 17 podiums and 11 wins. In the previous four years, Ducati had scored 26 podium places, so Stoner's 14 in 2007 is noteworthy. Not only that, his 11 wins was almost double what the Italian make had achieved in the previous four seasons. Compared with this record (2003-2007), Rossi's efforts look pretty average.

Comments are comments and I should be used to them by now. There are some great ones and lots of off the cuff presumptions that mean nothing (warning, the following could be just that :) ).
My take on the situation is the most logical and least emotional. Rossi gave Ducati 2 years of his now shortening last half of his career, they couldn't produce a bike that he could go fast on, who cares who could in 2007 (yes Stoner is an amazing rider.....but that has nothing to do with Rossi) so he went to the best option he could to try to win before his career is over. Staying at Ducati would be ridiculous at this point, if they couldn't make ANY progress over 2 seasons then it's not going to happen anytime soon which is what Rossi needs. As far as patriotism or wanting to help build a bike for future riders or "sticking it out" or being a quitter goes, have we all totally forgotten last year and this year so far? Who the F@#$ would stay with a company after the debacle of the last year and a half when you have the option to go to a factory ride on the most consistent bike on the grid right now? Pride? Ha! That's just kicking yourself in the junk for no reason.

For yamaha it is a great deal, they get sponsorship money and a top class rider at a reduced cost. Even if Rossi doesn't have the success he had before they still get more than enough bang for their buck.

Am I disappointed that Rossi failed on the Ducati? yes, even though I am not a diehard Rossi fan some good results would have made it a lot more interesting for everyone involved.
But am I disappointed he left Ducati? NO! Racing is about winning not about developing a bike for others or riding for the manufacturer from your home country. I say good on him, I hope he challenges for wins next year, though I really don't care if he wins another WC.

Rossi and Ducati both lose.

Ducati loses because it has placed its entire development effort in the hands of Rossi (but never did anything with it). Now what are they going to do? They've already proven that they're not willing to listen to anyone else's input. I'm sure Nicky could provide input if they would listen to him and actually act on it.

Rossi loses because his equipment will always be second best. Yamaha will do everything they can to protect Jorge and his quest for another world championship. Yamaha has publicly stated it. How can you ride for a team when you *KNOW* their priority is your teammate, and they control your equipment? I think that's why Ben Spies left, quite frankly. The number of (and severity of) mistakes his crew has made with the bike is just unacceptable.

Yamaha wins in a number of ways: they cripple Ducati by removing talent, they deny talent to the rest of the competing teams, they further control Rossi and his threat to Jorge, however slight that may be, and they get to say "I told you so" to Rossi with respect to the rider/bike question.

Is Rossi really going to be a threat to Jorge? I seriously doubt it. Rossi will have to ride over his head, every single race, to keep up with Jorge, much less beat him. Jorge is getting better by the race, Rossi is getting older. Jorge has two full seasons more experience than he did when he last fought with Rossi on equal equipment. He's two full seasons wiser. And he will have a year of hands on experience with the 1000cc M1 over Rossi, with the new tires and all that entails.

I don't see any real contenders to stop Jorge next season, barring a huge injury putting Jorge out of the running (heaven forbid). Pedrosa can't get it done now, he won't get it done next year. Marquez will get crushed by Jorge in his rookie season, factory bike or no. Bradle... doesn't have a factory bike to compete on. Everyone else?.. the bikes are inferior. (CRT, satellite teams)

I seriously hope Spies comes back to MotoGP (if he indeed leaves for WSBK) for 2014 on a competitive ride with no team agenda standing in his way. MotoGP really needs at least one American rider on a competitive bike.

Many points to consider.
Yamaha: Yamaha were happy to let Rossi go as they believed Lorenzo was the better rider (but not as good at, politics, sponsorship, or fan appeal), and they have been proven right as Lorenzo has not let them down. They don't have a major sponsor (though I am sure they would like one) and it doesn't seem to have held them back, and why sell yourself short and set a precedent if you don't really need to?
So they don't need Rossi, and they don't need Money. What do they want/need?
Well everybody seems to be forgetting about Dorna and what is going on behind the scenes. We know Dorna desperately wants Rossi up front. So maybe Yamaha says, we'll take Rossi if you back off on some of your reforms like spec ECU etc. Seems like a smart move to me. Get to employ Rossi on your terms (at a much lower cost than before), probably get more sponsorship money in the process, and get Dorna to back off some of the changes they are trying to impose. Who cares if he's competitive, We've got Lorenzo, more money, and squeezed Dorna.

Ducati: They seem to be taking a lot of heat from people saying they haven't made the changes needed/asked for, they need more money, they need to redesign everything, it's all their fault.
Rossi has said that he doesn't know what the problem is, or how to fix it, that's up to the engineers. If that is true then you can't blame the team for not making the changes you've asked for. If you've simply been asking for the fastest bike and they haven't given it to you, well bad luck.
However, they have made changes he asked for, fast tracking 2012 components last year, building alum frames, making changes to tame power delivery etc. Maybe they haven't come as fast as he wanted or worked as well, but how long has Stoner been asking the 'mighty' Honda for the chatter problem to be fixed? It's hard to fix a problem when you don't know how.
When Rossi went to Ducati and started having trouble, everybody was saying the CF frameless design was the problem and had to be changed to the same as the Japs. Stoner and Preziosi said the fame wasn't the problem. Ducati made a frameless alum bike the a full frame bike and the problem stayed the same. Even Hayden and Rossi eventually said the frame was not the problem.
Now the same people are saying it's the engine that is the problem and it needs to be changed. What is this based on? When Ducati won lots more races than Honda between 2007 and 2010, I don't remember anyone saying there was a problem with the engine, or that Honda needed to copy the Ducati to win more races.
I don't think copying exactly what they do will solve the problem either. It would be like saying to Dovi last year, you're on the same bike as Stoner, you know his settings/data, you can follow him in practice, just do exactly the same as him.
Problem is, Dovi isn't as good as Stoner, so trying to copy his settings and style wouldn't have worked.
Maybe the Ducati team just aren't as good as Yamaha or Honda, just the same as Dovi isn't as good as Stoner. And it's not just one person (ie Preziosi) it's the whole team. Preziosi said when Rossi joined the team, the budget went up about 50%. However the results got worse, so you can't say they would do better with more money.
Maybe the concepts and ideas they are using now are the best, and the team just isn't doing a great job. In fact if Yamaha or Honda were to use that concept they could build a much faster bike. Honda got pounded in 2007, yet they dominated in 2011 with basically the same engine and frame concepts.

Rossi: In a tough spot after struggling at Ducati for the last two years without a win. Made worse by the comments he made about Stoner, the fact he has not 'developed' the bike like his reputation said he would, and the fact he has been regularly beaten by team mate and satellite riders.
Is going to have a tough time against Lorenzo who is a faster rider, and he won't have anywhere near as much influence or preferential treatment as last time. He also knows the team consider him a No2 after his last departure in 2010.
His legacy is going to get much worse if he is comfortably beaten in the next two years by Lorenzo. Can't see too many positives, unless he beats Lorenzo.

I think you are missing some perspective. Saying that Rossi simply went to the team and said "I want a faster bike! Derp!" is simply ignoring the facts. He consistently talked about the issues and when they weren't getting better they then said they needed the aluminum frame. Not because they needed to copy the other teams but because a twin spar aluminum frame is a known quantity. Rossi's team knew what to do with that type of frame in the past using that material and the CF frameless bike seemed to be too hard to tune on race day and testing. I am not trying to say that Rossi and his team deserve no blame, but to say they weren't trying and just put it all on the engineers isn't true either.

Also, the development of new parts and the progress of making changes has been slow, especially compared to Honda and Yamaha. We can argue that Ducati is a smaller less resource heavy company but if you want to continue to win in Motogp you must be constantly changing, otherwise there is no point whether you like it or not.

You have to say that Rossi is a racer. Rossi is going to earn ten million dollars less per year just so he can do what he loves race bikes. I respect that. I wonder how many people would choose ten million a year or a competitive bike.

I wonder what would have happened had Lorenzo gone to Honda. I have a feeling that in two years Lorenzo might make the jump. It appears that the reason Lorenzo didn't go was because his now ex-manager was craptastic.

I don't profess to have anywhere near the technical know how of the vast majority of people here, so just what parts and changes Ducati did or didn't make will be argued and debated by people far more knowledgable... but something I do know to be true is the bike remains uncompetitive with every Ducati rider, with the exception of Casey Stoner being mid pack at best, season after season after season.

What I think is of equal importance to consider is perhaps Vale mindset has changed over the last two years of being uncompetitive (except in the wet) and maybe being part of the alien set in his twilight years in MotoGP and being a possible potential title contender again has outweighed the history book desire of becoming world champion on three different brands of bike.

Perhaps the single most important factor right now is to put the fun back into racing again, getting back the lost confidence and enjoying the thrill of chasing for victory and not praying for rain week in week out.... It could be that simple.

He does not need the money, that simply follows with success and if the move back to Yamaha is true, I think JL99 and VR46 can be a powerful force against Dani and new boy Marquez in 2013.

I hope Vale gets back to being competitive, so the sport gets back to the high levels of entertainment I have always enjoyed when he brings his A game and if it takes going back to Yamaha then I'm happy.

re: "I hope Vale gets back to being competitive, so the sport gets back to the high levels of entertainment I have always enjoyed when he brings his A game and if it takes going back to Yamaha then I'm happy."

you, ezpelata, and his accountant.

Isn't this what it's all about for Vale? And` finding the pleasure in racing that gives him the energy....' I hope he finds it. I hope we all do. And that David continues his insightful reporting of the process (hoaxes included - joke). Enjoy.

Just goes to show how much VR wants to win as no hiding place next season back at Yam.
The easy option would of been to stay at Duc and blame the bike.
Regardless of what some think this shows HE doesnt think he's finished.
Cant wait to watch it all unfold Bring it on!

You've (from a lot of points of view) summed it up well.

As Kenny Roberts Jr said "He will know what he's capable of."

Presumably Yamaha do too.

Anybody remember this report in mtm, in 2009:

Ever since news broke that Casey Stoner would miss three MotoGP rounds to recover from the mystery illness which has laid the Australian low, rumors that the move has raised the ire of both Marlboro and Ducati have raged around the paddock and the internet. Ducati have publicly expressed their support for Stoner, professing their understanding of his situation, and doing their best to suppress any impression of dissent within their ranks, at least in public.

While Ducati have publicly stood by their rider, little has been heard from Marlboro, the people who pay Stoner's wages. Until now, that is: Maurizio Arrivabene, the most senior figure inside Philip Morris' motorsports sponsoring arm expressed his irritation at Stoner's decision. Speaking at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix - Arrivabene is also responsible for the Marlboro sponsorship of the Ferrari F1 team - the Marlboro boss was damning of Stoner's absence. According to Italian media company Sportmediaset, Arrivabene feels an apolology is in order: "I hope Stoner has the decency to apologize to the team in Portugal," Arrivabene said.

Stoner's return for his salary at Ducati was a WC, 23 wins, 42 podiums. What will Arrivabene say about a rider who bails out after delivering no wins and just two podiums? That Ducati should have the decency to apologise to Rossi? Enquiring minds will be waiting to hear..

that Marlboro leaving Ducati with Rossi was nothing but a rumor. Marlboro basically pushed Casey out the door with all that he did for them in terms of wins and title yet they were going to hitch their wagon to Rossi for doing absolutely squat? Yeah, made no sense. If anything, they should be happy not to foot the bill for Rossi with his lack of results and defeated body language. If anything Arrivabene owes Casey an apology and a Ducati owes Casey a "Thank You" for making their bike look WAY better than it actually was.

Rossi has taken a risky move.
I thought that bringing Ducati to win was more rewarding (and history making) then doing it at Yamaha.

But this is the difference between a champion like him and ... us. He probably cares only about winning and it is willing to take risks to achieve it.

The WSBK perspective is really interesting ... it would be great for the series to have Rossi there.

I can only wish all the best to Ducati it will still be tough for them but I really do hope Nicky will get some good results next year. It would be a shame to loose them

It is little bit funny when VR signed contract with Ducati, most of Italian said it was perfect marriage, but their dream was over. VR just adds himself in Ducati fail list such as Capirex and Melandri. Perhaps Ducati suit better on other riders, like Carl Foggarty and Troy Bayliss in WSBK and CS in MotoGP

29 victories, 99 podiums, 4th on a Ducati in 2003 and 3rd in the Championship on a Ducati in 2006 ; a bit harsh to call Capirossi a failure?

Rossi to Yamaha? Does it really matter why as long as we get back to racing with the main players in the mix? What if Bradl comes out swinging next year and he's the front man? What is Marquze eclipses everyone that has come before him and takes the title on his rookie season? We'll never know what really took place unless you ask the main players and they tell you, and even then it will be their version of how it all went down.
What is a bigger concern is the state of MotoGP.
No logo Marlboro Ducati. Yamaha with no title sponsor.

What are the budget / paycheck differences in WSBK compaired to MotoGP?

How do the finacials break down for the WSBK teams? MotoGP teams?

How does F1 florish when MotoGP seems to be running out of options?

Is there a business model that Carmelo Esposito could follow that he refuses to, that would help set things right?

What is Bernie Ecclestone doing that is seeing the expanssion of F1 while MotoGP dwindles?

As I read through the latest issue of F1 Racing it seems (and this is just my outsiders opinion) that the players in F1 all get it. They ultimatly work for Bernie to make the F1 show what it is. The teams and drivers fight each other but they're all moving forward under one umbrella.
It looks to me like the players in MotoGP are all doing their own thing and there is little continuity is what that things is. And ultimatly they are left looking like a unled pack of dogs fighting over whats left of the table scraps.

And here''s a personal gripe - I'm compleatly sick and tired of hearing riders say they just want to ride the bike. To fucking bad! Unless you want to build a FIM approved track in your back yard, study metallurgy, pay for all the R&D out of pocket, build the bikes, become your own personal PR company and hand out fucking tickets at the gate as well as sell snacks while 150,000 people stop by for the weekend, then you might want to get onboard before MotoGP becomes home made bikes putzing around on a dirt tracks.
While on the subject - The factory teams might want to find a way to sell engines to satalite teams at a resonalble price to expand the grid. Making a little less profet now beats making NO PROFET when no ones watching anymore and the tents have folded up.
When you look at the way F1 drivers interact with the fans it makes me want to slap CS upside his oh so tortured little head. Get this, Alonso, Vettel, Button, etc... They all seem happy to have their jobs, perform their sponsorship duties and they love their fans.
McLaren Mercedes sponsors - Vodafone, Jonnie Walker, Mercedes Benz, Mobil 1, Santander, Lucozade, AkzoNobel, Sikkens, Hilton HHonors, Pirelli, XTB, AON, Akebono, Enkei, Fan Vision, Faro, Gsyuasa, Boss, IFM, Kenwood, Lenovo, Mazak, NGK, Processia, Steinmetz, TAG Heuer, Dassault Systemes, BiNZ
Yamaha sponsors - Yamaha, Eneos, Semakin Di Depan, Yamalube, Pizzoli, BM group, Iveco, and from there on it's basicly free kit.
I'll take it for granted that everybody who reads David's sight is, like myself, a huge MotoGP fan and wants to see the sport stick around. Some of you seem to be very much in the know. So why not start thinking of ways for Dorna to get it together and get that to them. Wherever they are getting their ideas from isn't working so it might as well come from here.
It beats the hell out of speculating over what might or might not happen when Rossi moves. Because face it, if Rossi goes into turn one at Qatar next year ahead of JLo and Marquez and Dani are right there, along with Bradl and Dovi, then all is forgiven and we'll have a hell of a good season to watch.

F1 with Bernie, like NASCAR with the Frances, have built an empire by ruling like dictators and not letting the manufactures have their way - they don't let the inmates rule the asylum. One thing about motorsports, especially high dollar series, manufactures come and go. From BMW, Toyota, Honda, etc recently in F1, to Dodge leaving NASCAR at the end of the year, to Suzuki and Kawasaki recently in MotoGP - it's gonna happen. There has to be someone that rules with an iron fist and make the rules good for the whole and not a few. Bernie has been the master at this in F1 - either play by his rules or get out. Simple. Until Dorna does the same with MotoGP it will always be this merry go round with the rules and regulations.

F1 flourishes because it has been under the same management with Bernie for a couple of decades. F1 also flourishes for the simple fact that it is bigger than any other motorsports - much bigger with a bigger target audience than MotoGP. The simple fact is more people in established countries can relate more to cars than bikes. Everyone is not a biker nor does bikes have the appeal as cars to the masses. It's just that simple. My mom drives a car. She can relate to a car race like most people who have cars. She absolutely hates bikes. And reminds me I need to sell mine whenever it crosses her mind. lol

F1 has more sponsors spending more money because F1 has more eyeballs every race weekend than any other motorsports. This is a result of Bernie running the TV deals for decades and car racing being a sport more people can relate to. MotoGP will NEVER grow to the size of F1 because the same amount of people can't relate to bikes and they have no love of them what so ever. Think about - most bikers don't watch bike racing (at least in the States) so why would anyone else? As shamarone ( or normgshamarone on this site) says - motorcycle racing is a niche sport for a niche market. Motorcycling isn't "mainstream".

The budget differences between WSBK and MotoGP for factory team are huge. They aren't making their own kit in WSBK. I read last year in some bike mag the budget for Ducati's WSBK effort was some where around $5 million or a little more the year while it was close to $20 million in MotoGP (I read this right after Ducati announced they were pulling out of WSBK at the end of 2010 and no I don't know how true it is and yes I assume the MotoGP $ is much higher this year).

Honda and Yamaha couldn't give 2 shits about fans or other competitors or the sport in general - they only care about themselves. If Honda and Yamaha raced each other at Suzuki and Motegi for the whole season without anyone there in the stands and they could be call "MotoGP Champion" it would suit them just fine. To them MotoGP is a engineering exercise to beat their main rival and they treat it as such. It isn't about fans or excitement or whatever - it's about making the best kit to beat their Japanese rival. As series commercial rights holder it's Dorna's job to cater to the fans for tv audience and ticket sales - not the manufacturers or riders.

And got little to replies or votes. That said, I will try again. Said plainly, Dorna needs to lose their contract as the sole rights owners to this series. They are horrible promoters and Carmelo, from my vantage point, is getting his proverbial lunch eaten by the riders AND the manufacturers. The inmates are running his aslyum. He needs to be canned ASAP.

As for Rossi to Yam, I am happy about it as at the age of 37 i still have all his posters up, own and read all the books by and about him and have a collection of helmets. An obvious fanboy. However, there are 20 other riders on the grid which is packed to the gills with champions from around the globe. DORNA had better find or create their next star because Vale is running out of gas in his tank. While he has earned the right to create this buzz, what is MotoGP going to do to sustain itself when LAR (life after rossi) arrives? Without a compelling spectacle AND while missing Rainey Schwantz rivalries, there is NOTHING to draw casual fans into seats while watching true race fans and riders bounce over to SBK.

Who is the next to be the face of MotoGP? Lorenzo ain't the guy. My goodness, he calls himself the Black Mamba for crying out loud. That's fitting as i think that is also the name of a large adult sex toy here in the states. He is a pretender while hugely talented. Stoner is gone but was an anti-social brat; Hayden is barely holding on; Bradel is a rising star but too bookish; Spies appears to be a distracted introvert while also suffering from Too Cool Syndrome and, oh, yeah, he's gone next year. AD is too much a pretty boy and self-impressed; Pedrosa is a robot. That leaves Cal. But at this point he is only a Peoples Champion as he hasn't even found the podium. Losing Sic was bad on all levels. Still heartbreaking.

Apologies for the stream of consciousness, but MGP is in trouble. Vale, as much as i love and respect him, is only a marketing band-aid for Dorna. Here is hopong Rossi can put Ago's records behind him and retire having accomplished everything but winning on that resume-killing career-ending sent-marco-to-the-shrink red bike.

"Said plainly, Dorna needs to lose their contract as the sole rights owners to this series. They are horrible promoters"

Absolutely, look at spain as a whole at the moment. Most formula 1 races, most motogps, highest paid soccer players yet nearly thirty percent unemployed.

Dorna has been the sole rights holder since 1992. Have the last 20 years really been such dark days? I will give Dorna credit for their online video. MotoGP is the only racing I watch because it's the only series I have easy access to. There is room for improvement in their online service. I think it would be good for them to make everything but actual races free. Make one race a year free and give away all the highlight videos and interviews and stuff. But even with the problems they're miles ahead of WSBK in that they even offer this service.

re: "As shamarone ( or normgshamarone on this site) says - motorcycle racing is a niche sport for a niche market. Motorcycling isn't "mainstream".


Rossi should have swallowed his pride and go back to Honda.
What he said about Honda when he left for Yamaha was really unfair to Honda.
Next year it will be all Yamaha like 2009 which i hate very much.
I don't know why Honda kept Pedrosa, don't think i'll be watching much motogp next year!

Rossi to Yamaha, that is not even a stretch to believe in. It is understandable. Him and Ducati just cannot make it work. It seems logical. Failure yes, end of the world for Rossi, no.

World Superbike, I have read alot people wanting to see Rossi in World Superbike. Personally, I think Rossi will end up in a car before he goes to World Superbike. It just does not seem to hold much prestige for him. Cal Crutchlow stated that anyone in the top 5 of Motogp could win a race in WSBK. When Spies was asked about why more World Superbike guys cannot make the transition to Motogp, he said the GP guys were just "outright faster, no way to get around it."

Rossi may not be 'Rossi' on a Ducati, but he is still top 4 material. World Superbike may not appeal to him. He has not made the statement like Stoner. Who said, the best are in GP, and that is where he wants to be. But, as shown by just about every slowing down top 5 rider from GPs going to World Superbike and winning on a regular, the racers are slower in WSBK. Spies mopped the floor in his first year without even knowing the tracks, and was only able to get one win, one pole in Motogp after winning a championship in his first year in WSBK and getting god knows how many pole positions. Went to GP and was holding on for dear life.

Just feel he may retire from racing bikes before going down to WSBK.

re: "Just feel he may retire from racing bikes before going down to WSBK."

other than a passing admiration, his latest comments tells me he has no interest in WSBK whatsoever (this is contrary to what i originally thought). if he were interested in production, he could've gone there with ducati. it's all about legacy now and that means grandprix or bust. that rumor about the R1 in 2015...? yeah, that's garbage.

didn't he stuff one or two up Max's backside the first time he rode the bike on a track he hadn't seen while competing in 250s?

hopefully that helps your point (if my memory is correct (or close to!).

3 words Mr. Preziosi.

Shoulda woulda coulda.

All FAR too little, FAR too late.

It's good if Rossi and Ducati part ways. Neither has helped the other in my opinion. Rossi says Ducati doesn't provide what he wants, which is really a red Yamaha. But Rossi can't (or won't, my money is on won't) ride the Duc to make it even semi-competitive. Only Hayden has shown flashes of being competitive on the Duc, until the bike lets him down. Rossi saying "he's not an engineer" really says to me that he has no concrete ideas on how to fix the problems he sees, he just knows what is wrong with it. He can no longer help. Might as well move on. He's doing no one any good at Ducati.

The idea that Ducati has done nothing to try and improve their bike is false. They introduced new frames, new bikes, new bikes again last year, and nothing has made an improvement. So while their changes have not netted any better results, at least they are still trying. They're going on 5 years of poor results, and they're still in it. Aprilia, Kawasaki and Suzuki all did a runner after being uncompetitive. At least Ducati is still trying.

I still wish to wake up to the news that Valention Rossi & Ben Spies will ride for SUZUKI and Andrea Dovizioso will be on a Kawasaki with Tommy Sykes. This is what we all want. Right?

re: "I still wish to wake up to the news that Valention Rossi & Ben Spies will ride for SUZUKI and Andrea Dovizioso will be on a Kawasaki with Tommy Sykes."

grandprix or wsbk...?

re: "This is what we all want. Right?"

grandprix...? heellll no.

Rossi heads back to Yamaha and the haters on this site are out in force. (Big surprise huh?) Never mind that Casey left for the same reasons.

Valentino just turned down something in the neighborhood of 10 million dollars. That's how much more per year (ballpark) that he would have made staying with Ducati.

Oh well, that counts for nothing for some. For others that says a whole damn lot about a motorcycle racer wanting to be competitive.

Youre credibility isnt undermined David!!

Still the best moto journo in the game, dont beat yourself up. I read your site first and all else later. I cant speak for all but there arent to many pubs you go to with MotGP afficianado's that walk into with a name tag and not have a few frothy pints paid for. I dont drink and I'd pull in and buy you a couple.

Keep up the great work Mr Emmet!!

It's way out there, admittedly. Ducati can't fix the bike, because they don't have the resources. One "observation"

Another observation - Stoner walked away with the world championship last year, between excellent rider and excellent bike, it was a walk in the park (ok, a reach there)

Stoner hasn't done much this year (admittedly, relatively and relative to last year) and Lorenzo is surprisingly running away with the c'ship, because Stoner (and Dani) can't get around the chatter issue that the new front causes them.

Theory based on above info:

Honda can't develop a bike. They drew the short straw when their bike's harmonics conflicted with the new tire. Yamaha hit the lottery when their bike works well with the new tire.

All a stretch, admittedly. But that's really all the other armchair theorists on this and a 100 other sites do also, eh?

Sometimes 2+2 = 47, if you skew the "facts" enough.

I'm pretty sure that if there weren't a single supplier/limited selection of tires rule in place, this whole Rossi/Ducati story would be different. The Ducati, with it's 90-degree V-angle and associated weight distribution and packaging has trouble loading the Bridgestone front enough to make heat to work well. But if Ducati had a tire designed to work well with that bike, then who knows?

The control tires have to be designed as a compromise to work "well enough" with all of the manufacturers bikes. But who controls the compromise when one bike in the field has a signifcantly different dynamic than the others? It comes down to politics...

This whole Rossi/Ducati story could've been completely different if there had been a tire war.

I find amusing all these "urban myths" of riders able to fix bikes. Or using those same myths -with added distortion- for opposite effect, to denigrate a rider who has been unable to deliver results.
As the interweb dudes say: "LULZ"

FWIW, plenty of the "greats" in the sport have been inept regarding technical matters, or unable to provide clear feedback to chief-mechanics. From the top of my mind, Spencer, Hailwood and Gardner are a few I've seen refered.

To solve problems in the race bike is not the job of the rider. That's the job of the chief-engineer (Jeremy Burgess, in the Rossi/Ducati example), who translates/analyzes the feedback of the rider, among other data, for possible solutions. Then up to the R&D guys (Ducati Corse, led by Preziozi) to find a fix for problems/issues that have been found and can't be solved (or massaged, whatever).

Then there's this idea that poor old Ducati gone somewhat bullied, then developped and delivered their 2011 and 2012 MotoGP bike exactly as Rossi (and Burgess) asked.
...there's and interesting bit from Burgess that leaves a lot explained without saying it directly:

“This bike is still a frame wrapped around an engine, rather than an engine designed to go in a frame,” explained Burgess. “We need new crankcases because we can’t keep raising the engine because then the countershaft sprocket gets higher and higher which affects the swingarm pivot and thus handling. You’d think we would’ve had new ’cases by Le Mans, but here we are at the ninth race with the same bike we had at the first tests.
There’s lots of other little things. The Honda gets a jump on us out of the corners because it’s smoother and the Yamaha is another step better. They’ve got primary and secondary injectors, while we’ve only got single injectors.”
(from, article date is of 18th July 2012):

As I see it, Ducati had two years to "do it" yet the only thing they did was to make various experimental chassis changes during 2011, and 2012 pre-season, of the sort "maybe-this-nonono-maybe-that", according to their own assumptions on what the bike chould/should be.
Not as Rossi/Burgess told them. Not like Stoner/Gabarrini neither.

"putting a racing stripe on a turd - at the end of the day, it's still a turd."

I can not blame Rossi for jumping ship, or to have failed with this bike.
Well, at least now in Yamaha there can't be any more excuses for Rossi (supposedly!). We'll see how it goes now. :-)

He's responsible for the track side crew, which is race day bike set up, and will provide limited input in to the bike's development. He does not design the bike, a chief engineer does that, and this is done at the factory and he is assisted by a design team of engineers. Once it gets to the track Burgess's guys adjust dampening rates, electronic ignition curves, tyre pressures, rake etc. If the bikes got a fundamental problem, all they can do is oscillate around the problem to make the bike the best they can, not the best bike.

The technical director (Preziosi) will communicate with chief engineer in the factory and they must accept responsibility for this fundamental flaw, which is holding back the trackside teams and has done for many years. I also believe there is a cultural problem at Ducati, due to the length of time this problem has remained, and those responsible have not fixed it, which then leads us to management? Why has management tolerated this ongoing underperformance in their design team? Understand this and you fix the problem, do you think the Germans will tolerate this ongoing situation for long?

Hence Ducati were chasing the Japanese engineer 'Furawasa' (sp?), once Furawasa declined the technical director's position, Rossi then takes his team, and finds the best design team he can, which logic suggests is currently at Yamaha. If anything Burgess probably assisted Rossi to make the decision to leave, based on his knowledge of whether the bike would be cured by his conversations with the design engineers to gauge their interest in getting to the root cause.

The crew chief is a chief-engineer. Of course, he's the man that fine-tunes the instrument for the player (the rider), he does not design it or create it.
Yet, he does have a say when the instrument can not be fined tuned and is not performing.
If the original design is fine, then his work is simple (+/-) and there's nothing more than setting up to optimize the package. If the original design is flawed, then his work is impossible. As is the rider's (unless maybe it's Stoner, or Spencer in his day). The crew chief identify problems and present them to the R&D engineers (and designers), led by the General and Technical Director.
If the R&D engineers, or designers, do not follow the information towards fundamental issues, then the chain of people and events that link the rider to the R&D is broken, not working.
The problem perhaps is only now made visible, though it already shown some issues during the Stoner/Gabarrini days (and before that).

We're talking about Jeremy Burgess. He's a chief-engineer in Grand Prix racing since 1985. His record speaks for himself. Not just Rossi's.
That two year contract deal was estimated around 15 million euro (AFAIK?).

Your second and third paragraph may be the truth there, Auskid, and I guess it raises questions that noone outside that little private area knows answers for now.

At the end of the season, we'll be all looking back at these two years of the -then imagined- "marriage made in heaven" only to remember how much of a wasted opportunity it has been.
Perhaps Ducati will learn their lesson now. I'm almost sure Rossi already has learned his. :-)

The Doctor? Some doctor this guy is. This proofs once and for all that riders don't develop bikes. Bike developers are called engineers.

Nostrodamus would have a better chance of predicting whether Ducati's next engineering masterstroke is going to succeed or not.

I must confess to schadenfreude when I see all of Ducati's problems. I still haven't forgiven them for the 750GT I bought in 1973..........touted as this great new Italian road bike and it was the biggest POS I have ever owned.
As far as I'm concerned, they still owe me a bike that works, much the same feelings I suspect all of their GP riders except Casey Stoner and Troy Bayliss have.

ROTFLMAO... I used to say that Ducati was single-handedly responsible for the notion that Italian bikes were unreliable... Guzzi, ride it to the ends of the earth, Ducati, don't go more that 25 miles from home... Not quite the same these days, however the only Fuel Injected Italian bike I reluctantly own is my SR50 Aprilia scooter. Old lessons die hard...

All motomatters need do is publish a story about one V. Rossi and the comments come blazing in. What are we up to now? 140 or 150 comments already, and its not actually confirmed by Yamaha. So how does this fit with the Rossi nay sayers, and the glaringly obvious promotional capability of having Vale on your team?

If Pedrossa wins a race then he may or may not get mentioned in the motorsport headlines afterwards. I think Rossi's helmut design grabs more attention than Dani.

Funny ol'world...

It's widely acknowledged that Valentino is very good at articulating, and translating, information in a way that's meaningful to the development process. As he himself has said, he's not an engineer. Something has to happen with the input.

In 2010, just a month after the broken leg, (with shoulder still damaged), he not only matched the WSBK lap record on the R1, but provided input to fix a problem that Crutchlow had been struggling with.

Altho Ducati has 'tried' more upon the arrival of Rossi/Burgess, it hasn't exactly been what VR or JB have been asking for.

This is an interesting account of the development, (or lack there of), timeline over the past year+, taking into account the effect of the Audi acquisition...

VR will be at the front in 2013...

People should read the above manziana article kindly linked by fastfreddie.

FP might have had his hands tied behind his back during the extended Audi takeover.

It doesn't alter the objective conclusion that Ducati 'had long enough,' even though there might be most unfortunate reasons behind it.

To the question 'Did Duc supply VR a competitive package? the answer is no.