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 GPOne.com, 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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Comments

"he told us some things about electronic settings that improved the throttle connection and engine pick-up"

How is that meaningful to the development process? It's a motogp rider with years of electronics experience giving setup tips to a superbike rookie.

Thanks fastfreeddie for posting this link.It explains why Rossi (or Hayden- often neglected for the sake of putting all blame on rossi) has not been able to tackle the ducati.Shows how ducati has little to show in terms of progress to the bike.Even rossi said that it was the same bike they had in preseason testing from 2011 and this is middle of 2012 season, while honda has introduced the 2013 RCV.

The only winner here is the dorna. Unfortunately this is not a sport it's a business, having your major draw card struggling is bad for business. Having rossi back at Yamaha will shot some life back into the series but it's only a band-aid solution. What happens when Rossi leaves?

Look at Ducatis workload since 2010.First off, they came out with the Multistrata, the Diavel and Changed there Flagship Motorcycle with the introduction of the ground breaking 1199 Panagali.On top of 3 new models having to be retooled, Ducati decides to revolutionizeMotoGP with the first ever total carbon fiber chassis when they havnt even fixed the handling on the exsisting MotoGP machine. If that wasnt enough Ducati had very little testing for the 2011 season due to injuries to Rossi and bad weather. When Rossi is fit Ducati finds the new carbon chassis to be faulty and have to redesign a aluminum twin spar chassis at the same time as they are designing a new 1000cc engine for the 2012 change over to literbike capacity.And lets not forget... the owners/investors of Ducati had there eye on sales and the selling of the company itself to Audi. the workload Ducati was under was ungodly. But now that the company has settled down and has a huge corporation with Motorcycle enthusiasts as CEOs in the VW/Audi group engineers can focus on MotoGP instead of new production motorcycles.If Audi puts forth the effort they claim they are going to do, Crutchlow will have a strong MotoGP bike come 2013.

A) What are the budget / PAYCHECK differences in WSBK compaired to MotoGP?

How much was Biaggi making when he was in MotoGP and how much does he make in WSBK?
What was Cal's pay in WSBK and what does he make in MotoGP?

B) How do the finacials break down for the WSBK teams? MotoGP teams?
Team sponsors?
Rider's personal sponsors?
Repsol Honda money compaired to CRT money?
It's my understanding that in F1 it varies greatly between how Ferrari money breaks down and how it's brought in and how the teams further down the order get their money together (driver's bring money to the deal).
Could MotoGP set up a system that mirors that one? Or do they already?

C) How does F1 florish when MotoGP seems to be running out of options?
I understand that F1 is bigger. More eyes on race day, etc. What I don't understand is how MotoGP isn't following Bernie's map but on a smaller scale.

Next year Rossi will be starting the season 34 years old... assuming he signs for two years with yamaha (not a given), in his second year he will be 35 and trying to race not only the usual aliens with another year under their belts, but also hard chargers like Marquez in his 2nd year, and probably guys like Pol Epargaro, Iannone, Redding.... I just have a feeling he is going to get beat up by all sorts of riders, old and new...

I still like the fact he will be on a competitive bike again, though. Good Luck to the guy.

A) What are the budget / PAYCHECK differences in WSBK compaired to MotoGP?

How much was Biaggi making when he was in MotoGP and how much does he make in WSBK?
What was Cal's pay in WSBK and what does he make in MotoGP?

B) How do the finacials break down for the WSBK teams? MotoGP teams?
Team sponsors?
Rider's personal sponsors?
Repsol Honda money compaired to CRT money?
It's my understanding that in F1 it varies greatly between how Ferrari money breaks down and how it's brought in and how the teams further down the order get their money together (driver's bring money to the deal).
Could MotoGP set up a system that mirors that one? Or do they already?

C) How does F1 florish when MotoGP seems to be running out of options?
I understand that F1 is bigger. More eyes on race day, etc. What I don't understand is how MotoGP isn't following Bernie's map but on a smaller scale.

And yes this all goes back to Rossi and Yamaha. I am a huge Rossi fan but I'm also a Casey stoner fan, a Nicky Hayden fan, Ben, Dovi, Cal and on down the line. Colin Edwards is number one in my book right now because even if he's stuck on a development project bike he's a motorcycle racing bad ass, he says whats on his mind and he's representing the Navy SEALs. Thanks for that Colin. I'm also a Marco Melandri fan and I don't think there is enough money in the world to get him to leave WSBK and BMW to come back to MotoGP and throw a leg over a Ducati and that's a shame.
But mostly I'm a MotoGP fan and I want to see it headed for better days not headed for obscurity and the moth balls.
Lower ticket prices?
Better PR?
Dorna sending people out to find sponsorship in places they haven't looked?
What?
Ducati realizing that their trellis frame was the deal and to quit f#@%ing around with other options so they can get back to winning?

A couple Steve Jobs quotes come to mind -
"You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology - not the other way around."
"A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

I'm very interested in what David's readers think should happen in MotoGP to make it better and what "better" means to them.

About what relevance VR's input into the WSBK R1 that Cal was riding. Last year a friend and I were at the BSB at Donington. We happened to be able to speak to a member of Crescent Suzuki about all manner of things (REALLY nice guy, and the team were AMAZINGLY welcoming by the way).

Anyway, we got onto the subject of electronics. Not only the cost of the real top end electronics (which as we all know is horrendous). Hence why I bang on about stock ECU's.

We were told about the difference between the Moto GP boys and the rest. In the gents opinion that we spoke to, the Moto GP boys simply understand it all more. We were informed that after VR had done a few laps at Donington on the R1 he came back in, made some "suggestions" as to how the power delivery could be smoothed out and a couple of other things. Lo and behold Cal wiped the floor with everyone else next time out at Donington with these "suggestions" in place.

I'm not for one minute knocking any of the racers worldwide. God knows I wish I had a tenth of the talent they do riding a bike. But I'm just trying to give you a little more insight.

..I am a bit sick of all the talk about how Rossi is a so called Development Guru. He never said "I will develop the Ducati". I pretty Damn sure he was there to (HELP) in the development of the bike. So please stop you grade school sh#t talking and think for once. I mean really, the bike has always been a handful and every one who has ever ridin the bike says the same. Look! Just because someone has a good season and wins a WC does not make them the best rider, just ask Pedrosa. Now let's start throwing around worthless statistics shall we, umm no! Rossi has nine WC's and still got room for more. We all want to see good racing so PLEASE STOP comparing these two guys you're just giving J-LO a complex.

There has to be seats for them and there are only 4 seats that can win (Honda and Yamaha factory) and maybe 3 seats that can podium (LCR and Tech 3). Ducati doesn't count. So with Rossi, Jorge, DaniBoy, MM, Crutchlow/Dovi and Bradl and heaven forbid the most undeserving rider ever to enter MotoGP, Bradley Smith, where do Espargo, Redding and Iannone fit? CRT? Welcome to the finish line 40 seconds after Jorge crosses it.

It shows one thing MotoGP is deseprate to get one if its star riders back on a competitive machine. Finally like to say Lorenzo will humiliate him too I can also see the wall going back in the Yamaha garage too.

Time for the Americans here to support the people in charge of AMA dirt-track, get some cameras on those bikes and show the rest of the world what hard and fast motorcycle racing really looks like! RDawg and Duffyg, how about it? MotoGP looks finished. Way too expensive, too few competitive bikes, and thus a short-list of winners. In 2006 six riders won races. This year it is unlikely to be more than the three who have already scored wins. Allowing manufacturers to have too much say is a sure recipe for failure, as you gentlemen have said. Perhaps we could consider more (not less) freedom of technical regulations - but strict regulation of electronic controls. Allow two-strokes back in. Let anyone build a race bike with whatever engine displacement they want with as many cylinders as they like (this will ultimately be self-regulating as without the electronics, overly powerful engines will not be competitive over race distance.) And make the races at least 200 kilometres. Heck, back in the 1950s, Duke and Co. were racing 320 km races. Then we'd have pit stop strategies with fuel stops and wheel changes. What a show that would be. Almost as good as the old Castrol Six-Hour races in Australia...

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