Rossi: "I Would Feel Like A Traitor Going To Ducati"

Just over a month ago today, Valentino Rossi vowed to stop talking about his future in the press. But like everyone who has vowed to give up smoking or lose weight at the start of a new year, Rossi has found that such resolutions can be incredibly difficult to maintain. For at the ceremony on Thursday night where Rossi was presented with the "Winning Italy Award" in recognition of his work in improving Italy's public image abroad, Rossi was once again tempted into making statements on where he will be riding next season.

In response to questions about how much longer he will stay in MotoGP, the Italian living legend put the fears of MotoGP fans and organizers to rest: "I am again enjoying the sport and the desire to compete, so I think I will continue for some more years," Rossi told the press. Rossi could not avoid the question on all of Italy's mind, either. When asked about a potential switch to Ducati, Rossi was very clear: "An Italian on an Italian bike would be nice, yes. But I think I want to stay with Yamaha, which is also a little bit Italian. I would feel like a traitor if I acted any other way, because I feel very good with them."

Rossi also briefly discussed the challenges he faces in 2010, comparing his chief rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner to the rivals he faced in the past. "The young riders in Stoner and Lorenzo seem to me to be more prepared than the old adversaries of [Max] Biaggi and [Sete] Gibernau." When asked who he thought would prove the toughest challenger this year, Rossi replied: "Perhaps Stoner, but only because Jorge is injured and will need a few Grands Prix to fully recover."

The Italian naturally faced comparisons with that other Italian legend, Giacomo Agostini, who was also present to receive a prize, but Rossi waved such comparisons away as impossible to make. "To race where Giacomo raced requires the kind of courage that we simply do not face today."

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Strange comment from Valentino as Yamaha Italy has seen some lay-off and Yamaha employees were seen with protest banners on some events Vale was on.

As for the Ducati comment, let's wait for June and if the Ducati goes well (read one in front of him in the championship and one not so far below) you can bet he'll ink with Bologna.

So he's going to Ducati, then.

Rossi's attempts to manipulate the press are so completely obvious.

"Yamaha employees were seen with protest banners on some events Vale was on."

This should be a global movement. Every time Vale wins a race and does one of his little self indulgent celebrations, everyone needs to turn their back on him, Klingon style.

Stoners for Stoner 2010

I can't imagine Rossi leaving Yamaha at this point in his career. The risks would be too great. Rossi would look a fool if he couldn't ride the Ducati much fast than Stoner. It's not about winning more championships now but building a legacy. Rossi will never match Agostini's record in championships won and has only an outside chance, at best, of matching his record number of wins. The Yamaha is too competitive. Rossi isn't happy Lorenzo is on equal equipment. The last thing he wants is to be on equal equipment with Stoner. I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell he'll ride for Ducati.

I think he may have a better chance of moving than that.

When he moved to Yamaha most pundits and a lot of riders thought he had bitten off more than he could chew..he was being egotistical, Hondas mighty RCV990 was the reason behind the easy success, not Vales skill and judgement...any parallels?

The appetite for a challenge still burns brightly and it's great to hear he wants to continue.
His decision, and let's face it if he wants a factory Duke he'll get one, will likely depend on results at mid season as mentioned and clarification of the new rules. He's stated the desire to ride a litre bike and it appears Yamaha wish to continue with an 800..Ducati have indicated they will build a 1000cc bike.

The legacy you talk about, and a nations hopes may be best served if Rossi is in Red..

I am with wosideg. When Rossi moved to Yamaha, just about EVERYONE in the paddock had a smirk on their face like that move was not gonna work. The Yamaha was good, but not anywhere near close to perfection as the Honda. It was his skill as a rider that made up the difference. And later the development and Technical know how from Jeremy Burgess that made up the rest. And you can BET, that if Rossi moves so will JB! Max Biaggi fought him for every inch in the first race with Rossi on the Yamaha and Biaggi on the Honda.

Rossi may want to go out of his career as an Italian on an Italian bike. Is that so far fetched?!??? Stoner has been one of the greatest Riders that Ducati have ever had. And one of the greatest Champions I have seen in Motogp, but, to say Rossi would not get up to speed with Stoner.......I just cannot write him off so quickly.

Sort of hope he does move. Rossi is always one to give good DRAMA!!!!! >:)

I suspect it would take a fair amount of persuasion by Rossi and Marlboro's bottomless wallet to convince JB to move to Ducati, and he'd want to take his key people too, which isn't an easy thing to do, replacing an entire technical team. He may just elect to retire instead.

Rossi won't change as long as he feels happy in Yamaha and the bike is performing.

dont for get Rossi had the one off tyres that few in over night!!! and he was the only rider getting them on the Honda and the Yamaha!!! that helps win titles

be sure of what you are writing???
Do you have some inside information?
Do you know if he was the only one?
Can you resume all that Rossi has done in he´s career to tires?

Did you see he´s first race/win with yamaha against Biaggi & honda? Do you think that was about tires?
Did you see the fight in Laguna Seca whith Stoner???? What....oh yes, rossi had specially made grooves carved in he´s tires so that he could run on gravel or dirt !!!!

Biaggi, Pedrosa, Stoner for several times, Lorenzo, Hayden (was), Capirossi would have been world champions if..........there was no Rossi. All of them have / had what it takes to be one. ALL OF THEM are way ahead of riding a bike compared to the others.
But if you look at the history of this sport you will find lots of examples like this ;
How many times would Shwantz be a world champion, if there was no W. Rainey or M. Doohan? Maybe Mamola & Kosinski would have been W. Champions too!?!?!?

Do you think that Barry Sheene, G. Agostini, Hailwood and all the other legends didn´t have worthy oponents?

Do you think that Freddy Spencer was on steroids??? - he was the only one that ran the 250 race ( WINS IT )got of the bike ran the 500 race ( WINS IT TOO !!! )and after went out with he´s friends to drink some beers. He did it for a whole championship and in the end off the year he was World Champion in both categories...... Wow!! by your terms he must heve been the only one on track, or he had special parts, or special fuel or...........he realy was one of a kind!

Look at the have the best basketball players in the world...and then you had M. Jordan!
All sports have "aliens", if we like them great!!! If we don´t , we just have to wait till the next "alien" arrives.

I think that there is another "alien" coming...Spies

P.S. I would love to see Rossi in a Ducati !! Like it has been said, it would be great drama!

I just wish ROSSI would shut up..

OK, he maybe the " GOAT " to some , but, I hope he stays where he is. Maybe he knows that he cant ride the DUCATI as well as STONER, and would be shown up .

I am afraid all his play acting was fun initially, but, you never saw guys like LAWSON, GARDNER or DOOHAN carrying on like that all the time.

I have to laugh really, if you dislike rossi so much....just admit it!

And to blame him personally for yamha redundancies is really offensive. To you actually have an interest in motorsport?

This seems an honest response to the question he was asked. He is happy at yamaha, the bike is good, he is still making the difference, very different to the situation in 2003 when he moved.

When all potential is "relatively equal"....may the best man win (and stay at yamaha.) The end of 2007 was probably the only time he would have left.

The ducati has been redeveloped by preziozzi and vitto to be better for "non-stoners"......the question is will these compromises affect stoners ability at raw speed and will it require a change in racing style/tactics. I think we'll be seeing 27 in repsol 2011....

I think we are in for good racing all in all, regardless of whose movin' and shaking.

To some the idea of Rossi leaving Yamaha for Ducati is analogous to him leaving Honda for Yamaha. The difference between now and then is that Rossi was at the beginning of his Grand Prix racing career. A motivating factor was that Honda was getting a larger share of the credit than they deserved for Rossi’s success. Also the level of competition wasn’t that high. Rossi knew that if Yamaha could build a decent bike, Burgess and he could develop it into a winner. Rossi knew what he needed to beat Biaggi and Gibernau and knew he could get it from Yamaha. All Yamaha had to do was give Rossi and Burgess what they asked for and let them do the rest. Much credit should go to Yamaha for doing exactly that.

Now the situation is completely different. Rossi has shown he is the dominant rider for the first decade of the Twenty-First Century. Whether he retires today or a few seasons from now won’t affect his legacy at all. Some are calling him the GOAT now and his career is not yet over. I’ll save that discussion for another day. The only way Rossi could affect his legacy is a negative direction. Say Rossi continued racing until he could no longer compete for the World Championship. Or say Rossi switched bikes but was no longer in championship hunt. Rossi has set the bar so high it’s almost impossible to take it higher. Rossi is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. At this stage he’s going to leave the fastest bikes in the paddock to Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies? To reuse the expression from my previous post, there is not a snowball’s chance he would do that.

You maintain there is no analogy between 2004 and now, beginning by saying Rossi was at the start of his GP maths make it that he had completed 8 GP seasons out of the current 14....? he was, at the start of that season, already a 5 time WC, 3 of which were in the top class..
Motivation for the move was largely down to Hondas attitude..."any decent rider could win on our bike" type of thing..which was underlined by HRCs chief promising to crush Vale and show him up for the fraud Honda believed he was after he signed for Yamaha.
He took a huge gamble based on Yamahas previous 12 years at that stage. Rainey had won their last title in 92 and the M1 had less than a handful of victories..he didn't have any guarantee or know anything for sure.
Biaggi and Gibbers may not be Stoner and Lorenzo in the eyes of some, but they weren't too bad, and they were on the RCV.

Today people hail the M1 as the best bike, not the his detractors that's not down to Rossi, it's all Burgess and Yamaha, and when he suggests Lorenzo is experienced enough now to set his own bike up, he's a prima donna and doesn't like the similarities there then.

The only difference is that he has been on this journey with Yamaha, who have given him the opportunity to make the mighty Honda eat their words. They have been good to him, are Italy based and it would make no sense to leave if you're talking matters of the head..thing is Latins are passionate, which is a matter of the heart.

I did make one error in my previous post. When I said Rossi was just beginning his GP career I should have said “premier class” or “500GP” instead of “Grand Prix”. Rossi was in his fourth season in the top class when he decided to leave Honda. He’s now about to start his seventh with Yamaha; his eleventh in 500GP/MotoGP.

There was an element of risk moving to Yamaha though not enough to dampen the confidence of Rossi and Burgess. The “competition” between Rossi and Max/Sete was largely a figment of the imagination used to promote MotoGP. Biaggi and Gibernau in their wildest dreams aren’t in the same class as Stoner and Lorenzo. Neither challenged Rossi as he has been sine 2007. It gives me hives to use those two names in he same sentence as Rossi; Stoner and Lorenzo as well. As I sad Rossi and Burgess knew how fast the Yamaha was in 2003 and how fast it needed to be to win in 2004. As long as Yamaha gave them what they (Rossi and Burgess) wanted they knew they could build a winner.

In road racing the fastest bike is the bike with the lowest lap time.

You’re telling me Italians are passionate? My ex-wife’s family came over from Sicily – I’ve experienced that passion up close and personal; meaning both the good and the not so good. It was never, ever boring. :D

Hahaha..go steady, or you will be sleeping with the fishes tonight..

Biaggi and Gibernau in their wildest dreams aren’t in the same class as Stoner and Lorenzo.

Uh, Biaggi was pretty awesome. He dominated 250cc for a good chunk of the 90s (and he was apparently a late starter when it came to bikes).

When he came to 500s he was eagerly anticipated, and he had an amazing first season. Won races (who can forget his 2nd win on a 500, what a wheelie), and came 2nd to *Doohan*.

He never did as well after that first season. What happened to him? That phenomenon called Rossi, who I remember was already quite a star even as 250cc champion, due to his incredible progress and already obvious outgoing nature. It seems this got to Biaggi from the beginning and Biaggi never could beat Rossi over a season, coming 3rd *after* Rossi in Rossi's debut season, Biaggi's 2nd.

Of his 8 seasons, he was never out of the top-5, and he raced 2 different makes of 500cc and MotoGP in that time! He also had an additional team change while staying with Honda, which wouldn't have helped. He finished top-3 *6 times*. Out of those 6 times, he was runner-up 3 times, once to Doohan, twice to Rossi. And he brought Yamaha's slow, first MotoGP bike to 2nd, behind Rossi on Honda.

I'm not a huge fan of Biaggi, but he's surely the most talented rider to never have won a premier-class championship in the Rossi era.

Edit: oops, the famous wheelie was his 2nd win

Wouldn't the Marlboro sponsorship be an issue with Rossi at Ducati? Didn't he bring in FIAT to replace Camel because he didn't want to advertise tobacco?

And hasn't Burgess already stated that if Rossi moves to another factory he'll retire?

I believe you are correct, Rossi has stated in the past idealistic issues with regard to cigarette sponsorship..cynicism can creep in as you get older..

Burgess has stated he will retire when Rossi has had enough, also that 60 might be the perfect age..3 years from now.

I remember reading an article written around the time of his first or second year in the premier class by an Italian journalist invited into Rossi's digs in Italy. Only Vale and Uccio were there but there were telltale ashtrays with butts in them. The jorno intimated that Rossi puffed occasionally but as a role model to the young it was not a product he liked endorsing. Of course costs skyrocketed and the fag money was required to pay his wage. Idealistic morality is one for the young. Pragmatic reality will see you through thereafter.
As for the latest Ducati statement Mr Rossi - Thou protesteth too much.

Rossi already rode the Camel logo. If the situation is right, he'll do it again. I have never actually heard any idealistic comments from Rossi regarding tobacco, only superstitious ones as the last time he was getting paid with cigarette money, he lost the championship.

He also rode with Gauloises sponsorship for Yamaha. That's a well-known French brand of cigarettes.

What he says...what he does...should we allow a champion (who shouldn't have to do more to prove he is one of the best) a few rhetoric. So are his statements and answers...most generated in conference with advisors and PR agencies. We should know (by now) that anything that any sports person or public figure announces should be consumed selectively. Just the fact that he sparks off such debates and comments make him important to this sport.
He rides Ducati ...he does not... these decisions will be based on circumstances we will know very little about. One thing's for sure - what ever this man does will spark off healthy controversies, debates and excitement. None of his competitors have charisma and talent bundled together in the same watch...enjoy.

I think Rossi is trying to veer away the attention at the moment of the prospect that he may part ways with Yamaha and go Ducati or any other manufacturer for that matter who would offer him the best bang.

Clearly, his intent is to focus solely on this season and from there, decide whether he goes with Yamaha all the way or switch to another bike.

Nevertheless, he does faces a lot of stiff competition this year with a lot of good rookies (Spies, Simoncelli, Bautista) and the young ones (Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner) who are all eager to win a championship while Rossi is still there. Winning a championship against one of the best riders MotoGP ever had is sure an additional topping for a sweet success.