Rossi To Test Screamer And Big-Bang Engine For Ducati

Even though Valentino Rossi has not yet heard whether he will be allowed to test the Ducati after the final MotoGP round at Valencia - a fact Rossi once again made a point of mentioning in the pre-event press conference at Phillip Island - preparations are already underway at the Bologna factory for the Italian's arrival. According to the Italian magazine Motosprint, Ducati are once again evaluating whether to use a screamer or big-bang firing order in the Ducati, and will be bringing a bike with one of each engine type to Valencia should Rossi be given the all-clear to test by Yamaha. Ducati team boss and former test rider Vito Guareschi has been seen studying Rossi's riding style very closely at a number of tracks to evaluate which bike to give Rossi first.

The key to all this will be Yamaha, of course. Rossi's current employers have still not given the Italian any word on whether he will be allowed to test at Valencia, with Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis repeatedly telling reporters it is too early to make a decision just yet. Yamaha has a careful balancing act to perform, though: On the one hand, depriving Rossi of two days of testing from an already severely curtailed winter testing program will hinder both Rossi's adaptation to the Ducati and the development of the Desmosedici GP11. The downside is that it will generate an outcry and a huge amount of negative publicity among fans, and not just those who follow Rossi.

Ducati have already set an example by releasing Casey Stoner from his contract early to allow the Australian to test the Honda at Valencia, partly in the hope that Yamaha will reciprocate. Yamaha, however, are still keeping quiet about the decision, and given that it is their last hold over Rossi, they will be unlikely to announce their decision until the very last moment. That is likely to be after the Estoril MotoGP round a week before Valencia, but it could even be as late as the Valencia weekend itself.

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The so called "Gentleman's Agreement" seems to have lost its luster. If Yamaha declines to allow Rossi to test the Desmo for Ducati, there will probably be a whirlwind of attacks towards Yamaha. With the weight that Rossi pulls in MotoGP and with Carmelo Ezpeleta I wouldn't be surprised if the testing schedule was altered.

I think Dorna needs to step in and make a new rule allowing riders that switch bikes/teams/factories, etc. to test the bike after the season is officially over, the last race (Valencia), otherwise have no test until after December 31st.

All the riders' contracts apparently are through the end of each year. When will a rider take a stand and say, "The gentleman's agreement is of no value" and sign a contract that expires at 11:59 local time the day of the final race. That should solve this moving forward.

This is exactly the point I made a couple weeks ago. The contracts expired at the end of the year makes no sense cause that has nothing to do with when the season ends.

Maybe someone could correct me if I'm mistaken but what other professional sports, racing or otherwise, have contracts with that time table? All the sports which don't sure don't seem to have this problem and controversy.

As I understand it, the only time that a GP rider changing factories has been prevented from testing with the new factory prior to the end of the year was when Honda prevented Rossi from testing with Yamaha in 2003 (not talking about a situation such as a rider going from one series to another, such as with Melandri going to WSBK and being denied testing with WSBK Yamaha prior to the end of the current MotoGP season -- should be noted however that Gresini will allow him to test before the end of the year, just not until the MotoGP season is over at Valencia.)

Can anyone confirm or deny, and perhaps provide a link to the substantiation? (I read an article stating this but cannot find it anywhere now.)

I think Yamaha holding back the permission till the very last minute will also create some trouble. Many fans are likely to see it as Yamaha playing really hardball with Rossi - unnecessarily so. If I were a diehard Rossi supporter considering a new sportsbike, I'd think very carefully about my support for Yamaha in any form.

Why should Yamaha be dissed for asking their rider to honor their commitment?

The reason the contracts are set up for the year's end is so that the sponsors can advertise their product after the season's results are final. This is a big part of why they invest their money into MotoGP.

Rossi (and any other rider) is a fan favorite but is really just a pawn in a much larger chess game as far as the factories, team owners, sponsors and promoters are concerned. Because of his immense talent he has been promoted into the star that he is now but when he is gone the next "Rossi" will be lifted up (to the best of their ability as Vale is truly a unique character that has not only great riding skills but is a fantastic showman and likeable character as well).

I too hope Vale will get to test the Duc, but should we vilify Yamaha and FIAT or any other sponsor for asking him to honor his contract? Personally I don't think so.

Many people seem to think it is just a matter of Yamaha not wanting to release the guy. I'm sure it can be done, but - especially with a marketing star such as VR - there are a lot of parties and interests involved.

What if Rossi had won the world championship this year?
Then Fiat and Yamaha who pay him millions to ride for them could not have any return on their investment by displaying commercials, posters, merchandising and such with Rossi world champion 2010 on it?
This is specifically the reason why ALL the contracts run til the 31st of december, to do advertisement once the season is off, the moment when you have a little return for your investment during the season (provided your rider got good results).
Rossi testing a Ducati with no logo of any sort while still contracted to Yamaha is simply not realistic in this PR world.
I personnaly think Yamaha is going to release Rossi but I understand why they would wait until the last moment (to avoid some backstabbing like he already did raising suspicion on Yamaha fairness with the whining about the 2011 fork...much ado about nothing) and I agree that a contract is a contract, this fact is certainly not hidden in the contract that Rossi agreed and signed so I don't see any reason to complain, neither for Rossi or its fans.
Or maybe does he plan to reimburse a fair share of his salary? :-)

Who is the main sponsor for Yamaha main team right now? Where do you think that sponsorship is going when VR leaves Yamaha? I dont think the shampoo company is going to feel bad about him not being able to promote the product either, just a thought. Only to realize that Fiat owns Ferrari, Ferrari=Rossi. Take a closer look at this, this was just today
The only other big sponsor decal on that bike is not even a sponsor other then a Yamaha frase to help boost Yamaha's sales in Indonesia "SEMAKIN DE DEPAN", Then read this
The only hold over Rossi That Yamaha has is the fact that VR decided to leave them, only to have opened Pandora's box, If yamaha was to build a Kenny Robert's replica, even though Kenny has been retired for a long time, they will still get units sold, its is a level of commitment that counts, but it sure should be both ways.


All Yamaha needs to do is write a side letter that allows Rossi to do the test in unbranded bodywork and then complete the rest of his sponsor obligations for Yamaha during the remainder of the calendar year

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Keeping Rossi from testing would be a big mistake on the part of Yamaha. Theres no real reason for it besides spite or more likely an attempt to hold back their competition. When a rider tests a new bike before their contract is over its done on a bike with no livery whatsoever on it. Rossi, Burgess & Co did a lot for Yamaha who until them didn't see the top of the podium since '92! Any fallout from not letting them go would be well deserved.

As mentioned above, the sponsors that pay Rossi's salary and support Yamaha's racing effort have a very good reason for not wanting him on another sponsors bike: they paid for his services through the end of the year.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

The sponsors are not losing any of Rossi's services.
He won't be testing for Yamaha anyway.
He can test the Duc in unliveried form.
Yamaha, Fiat, Monster, etc. can continue to plaster his image on all of their marketing materials until the end of the year.

The comments about the sponsors, etc. not wanting him to be on another bike are bogus. The first test of the next season has always been the following day from the last race of the season. All parties involved are fully aware that if a rider signs with a different team they would participate in testing with their new team. If this was a real problem then Dorna would change the testing to after Dec. 31st. The teams save money by having the test the following day, i.e. travel, shipping.

As noted by someone previously Honda didn't let Rossi test the Yamaha because they were furious that he left Honda. Also this will leave a dent in Yamaha's brand image as before Honda were looked at as the bad guys, now too Yamaha are not respecting their 4-time champion. Let's see how many Yamaha fans convert to Ducati. I know I am ready to sell my R6 and get a Monster in the near future.

While Yamaha hadn't won a Riders championship since '92 with Rainy, and a Manufactures Championship (2 stroke) since 2000. Biaggi did manage 2 wins, 8 podiums and 4 poles in 2002 on the hapless dog slow (tongue in cheek) M1.

Barros had a podium on the M1 in 2003, and Checa had several 4th places.

While the M1 had certainly taken a step backward from it's inaugural year, Yamaha still knew a thing or two about building a 4 stroke prototype before Rossi & Burgess arrived.

And as far as "fallout," I assume you mean off the track from fans/consumers... Honda seemed to do just fine off the track (and on it) after Rossi left. I'm just trying to say these things are a little overstated at times. Marketing hype is just that, hype, and not nearly as important as some people would have you believe.

And for the record, I'd be surprised if Yamaha didn't let Rossi test the Ducati. If they make him wait until he gets off the M1 for the last time after the race at Valencia, they're still doing him a favor.

... have contracts end after the last race of the season instead of December 31st?

As explained several times above, it is to be able to capitalize on the riders' marketing value. If Rossi (or Stoner, for that matter) has become champion this year, then Yamaha could have placed a championship celebration ad in magazines around the world advertising the fact. If Rossi's contract ran out directly after Valencia, then Yamaha would not be able to benefit from Rossi's title, and in fact, Ducati would be posting ads with pictures of Rossi and the #1 plate all over the magazines, benefiting from Yamaha's title.

As an aside, if Yamaha or any of the manufacturers knew what they were doing, they would have ads ready to put up on websites the minute the championship was won, instead of waiting until a month afterwards. The motorcycle industry as a whole is stuck in the mid-twentieth century, it appears.

The other issue with contracts is of course that the calendar can be subject to change. If a meteor strikes the Valencia track in the next week or so, they would have to move the last race somewhere else. That might mean moving the date back a week or two until there's room at a track, meaning that a contract with a date in it would leave the rider without a contract for the last race, or even under contract to another factory. That's without the fact that two-year contracts are drawn up about 20 months before the date of the final race for that rider is known. Of course, you could add a clause releasing a rider "after the final race of the season" but that could get complex and open to interpretation, leaving riders out of contract the moment they pull into pit lane.

In short, December 31st is a much easier date all round.

Who says a team cannot display commercials ect. for what thier rider does during the year just because said rider switches teams at the end of the year?
I've never heard such a thing.

The contracts a rider signs with a team are huge documents, covering the most incredible minutiae, including when and where the rider will be required to wear team clothing, how many public appearances they will have to do during the year, and most importantly of all, how their image may be used. Yamaha have a right to use Rossi's image to promote the brand until December 31st of this year, at which time that right terminates. Rossi (and not just Rossi) guards his brand very carefully, and his legal team have cracked down on a number of people using his name or his image to promote their products. One example, those red Ducati/#46 t-shirts that appeared at Misano, which were all confiscated by the local police.

Contracts truly are complex. Another example: As part of Dunlop and Bridgestone's contracts with MotoGP, they top three have to wear Dunlop or Bridgestone caps in parc ferme and on the podium. But the riders have to get from parc ferme to the podium, and photographers face a real problem selling photos they happen to take of riders going from one place to the next with the tire caps on, because riders, manufacturers and tire companies all have contracts regarding the sale of photos wearing tire caps.

And this is just tire caps, think of the myriad other sponsors involved. This is one of the reasons riders have managers, just to wade through the legal documents.

and more to the point is IP. Yes, IP. To use the US for an example (and I imagine it's this way in other countries) if a photographer takes a picture of someone and wishes to use it for commercial purposes they are required to get permission from the subject. Rather than have the riders sign a model release for every photo shoot they attend or every picture that is taken of them at an event these issues are covered via their contract. Rossi in his contract has given permission to Yamaha to use his likeness to promote their products, that permission ends when his contract expires. That permission extends to the sponsors. If his Yamaha contract expired in December but his Ducati contract took effect after Valencia we could have a situation where you could see a Yamaha commercial with Rossi followed by a Ducati commercial with Rossi, Something no one would want to allow.
I wonder if all of the people here who are chanted "F^

I wonder if all of the people here who are chanted "screw the contract" would feel the same if they had contracted a very important employee and that person decided to walk out early from the job? A contract is a contract period. Once Rossi throws a leg over that Ducati his marketing cache with Yamaha will plummet, but fortunately for them JLo won the title so they have "someone" to fall back on. Meanwhile Fiat and others may still wish to cash in on their investment before the contract expires.

While you are spot on with IP in regards to this, I'd just like to clarify that a good chunk of the professional photos taken at a MotoGP race are journalistic. Since the riders are public figures, in a public venue, and the photo--while still commercial--will be used in a journalistic context, no model release is required. It's the reason why tabloids don't need to get model releases for every paparazzi photo of (the female) JLo walking into a clothing store.

However, in regards to the photos being used purely commercially, by sponsors, to help advertise products, you're 100% correct regarding the IP laws.

There doesn't need to a journalistic component. Presuming the subject doesn't have a right to privacy (the rules on this vary from "no right if in public" to "some rights, depending" from place to place), photographers often can sell photos of whoever they want.

(Now, certain buyers of photos wont /buy/ photos unless the photographer can supply model release forms - but that's a different thing)

FWIW, this claim of yours isn't generally correct:

" if a photographer takes a picture of someone and wishes to use it for commercial purposes they are required to get permission from the subject"

Googling "photographer's rights" can be interesting.

I don't understand what all the fuss is about with promoting the company until the end of the contract. Didn't Yamaha stop using Rossi in all the pre-events aparences from Laguna Seca, or so. And started to put Lorenzo in front as the company Image.
If they won't let him test, it will not have anything to do with image rights and so on.

but isn't VR taking the Fiat sponsorship with him? so the only people holding back will be Yamaha.

As for testing both engines, I hope he goes with a screamer ala Doohan, take the engine that no-one else can ride and win on it!

Fiat is not the only sponsor Yamaha has, there's Petronas, Packard Bell, Yamaha Indonesia and a bunch of other smaller sponsors. Yamaha (and Rossi) have obligations to them too. And Fiat will only be leaving at the end of the year too. Sponsorship contracts tend to run through December 31st as well!

Two points, David. First, your article states "...Valentino Rossi has not yet heard whether he will be allowed to test the Ducati after the final MotoGP round at Valencia - a fact Rossi once again made a point of mentioning in the pre-event press conference at Phillip Island..." Rossi did not "make a point of mentioning" this at the pre-event press conference. Rather, he simply responded to the following direct question by moderator, Nick Harris "Valentino, have you had any news yet from Yamaha as to whether they will allow you to test the Ducati in Valencia?", to which VR responded "No, nothing yet...still waiting". People pull the same crap with Stoner and others as well, such as "Hey, Casey, how's the wrist?" and then quote his answer to imply "There goes Stoner, moaning to the press about his damned wrist again". It's an annoying tactic used by the likes of M. Birt and other hacks.

Second, your "principled" stance on the contractual obligations of riders (to sponsors, etc.) to see out the entire term of their factory contracts is evidentially rendered moot by the fact that virtually every factory has released every rider in history from fulfilling the post-season term of their contract (with the notable exception of Honda/Rossi at the end of 2003). Not to do so is simply mean spirited, and the strident tone of your defense of this absurd pretense just makes me wonder more about your journalistic objectivity. Or was this another MM "opinion" piece?

After years of amazing work, ONE opinion article is enough to question David's objectivity! This is very who is having a biased view, looking for every bit of what could be seen as an "anti-Rossi" statement?
And the fact that almost every rider has previously been released from his contract at the end of the season does not make it a right, merely an habit. This does not nullify at all the obligations described in the contracts every rider signs. Neither does it imply that respecting the terms of a multi-million contract means being "mean-spirited".

I'm not commenting on David's perspective, but anyone's objectivity is open to scrutiny at any time.

And the fact that almost every rider has been allowed to test in the past does make it right. Business customs and common practices can be enforced in a court of law.

I'm not saying that Rossi would sue Yamaha to win his right to test, but customs and common practices are recognized by law.

and, as human, he is not free of biases, many of which present themselves as obvious.

No human is perfect, far from it.

You appear to be reading things into the article which I did not believe are there. Firstly, you are right to point out that Rossi's answer was in response to a question from Nick Harris. However, Rossi does make a point in debriefs to wonder aloud whether he will be allowed to test the Ducati. That is what I was trying to convey. Both Rossi and Yamaha are engaged in a PR war over whether Rossi will be allowed to test the Ducati.

Secondly, my "principled" stance is no such thing, just an effort to explain that rider contracts are hugely complex documents that cannot be dismissed with a single word, even if both parties wanted to. There are many parties involved, including multiple sponsors, which complicates matters enormously. That does not prevent Yamaha from allowing Rossi to test the Ducati, but it does make the conditions more difficult. It means that Ducati would have to run a special, neutral paint scheme, as they did for Hayden when he joined Ducati from Honda.

My mission, I believe, is to explain. That is what I am trying to achieve. That means that sometimes, I have to explain the other side of the argument. Rossi's position needs no explanation at all: he wants to test the Ducati to get a head start on the year. Yamaha's position needs more explanation, it is not just mean-spirited, there is some reason to it. Also, when Rossi speaks, the world listens, and the world is waiting to hear Rossi's side of the story of the break up. That won't come until he has nothing left to lose, which is when he is in Ducati colors. Yamaha are delaying the inevitable.

My failure, as you rightly point out, is that I did not emphasize that it is customary to allow riders to test when they swap factories. I shall do so more clearly next time.

Finally, if you do not believe I am impartial, then you probably shouldn't be reading That is the worst punishment I can suffer, having readers desert the site. I hope you will not, and that you will read what I write from the point of view of what I am trying to achieve.

I honestly don't care whether Rossi tests the Ducati or not, it is not my decision to make, I just enjoy watching history unfold and trying to understand it. It would be actually be better for me if he is allowed to test at Valencia, as I will be there and will get a chance to talk to him about it, and will be able to post the debriefs, which will boost readership. If Yamaha don't let him test, then Rossi will leave the post-race test at Valencia without talking, and I'll have nothing to report (apart from Stoner's response to the Honda).

It is not my intention to justify myself, as I don't believe I should have to. The readership and reputation of the site will determine whether I'm doing a good job or not. You have to decide the same thing, and whether you want to continue reading the site or not.

You clarified the criticism so there is nothing for me to add to that.

What I consider important is the point you made about Rossi's leverage in the PR war, and I want to put emphasis on it:
When Valentino gets his wish denied to test the Duke, the world will scream "unfair".
When Yamaha or any sponsor will give up on their PR value for their paid money, nobody cares.

Before I'm getting angry remarks - no, I'm not a fan of big corporate money in sports, and no, I don't feel sorry for some sponsors that don't get racers act like their puppets.

But for matter of objectivity, Rossi vs Yamaha is not an even PR match, emotionally Rossi has clearly the bigger leverage.

A 'principled stance' in the article? For as far as I can read, it just shows there are two sides to a coin. I for one like to see people point out the background and subtleties involved in such a decision, rather than just display popular belief.
There are hardly more objective motogp sites on the net. Even if you disagree, sarcasm over David's opinion is a little overcooked if you ask me.

I come to this site more than any other. I love Dave's articles. I also love all the comments for the most part. It is an impossibility to be seen as 100% objective 100% of the time. Some opinion will always filter in depending on your own view point. Dave does an outstanding job of presenting the facts and explaining what those facts impact with out letting he opinions enter in. Nit picking one line out of his post is being a little over sensitive.

lets look at what happened to Elias and Gresini when they tested over the summer break. they are fined a small amount of money and Elias has to sit out the first free practice at the next race.
I say ducati does the same thing, gets a slap on the wrist, is told they shouldnt have done it, and then is fined a small amount of money

Elias testing was against the rules of the sport, as edicted by the FIM. Fines are typically "low" (hundreds or thousands) compared to team budget.
Rossi breaking his contract with Yamaha would be a commercial issue very likely to go to court or be settled in the million range. Because the sponsors and Yamaha lawyers are willing to have their contracts honored and respected and there is big money involved. Vale would never risk that, this is why he is so eager to get the go from his employers.

I am not talking about testing before his contract is up with Yamaha. I am saying that once it reaches January 1st, 2011 he can start testing with the Ducati and we can see how they change compared to the punishment put against Elias and Gresini.

Compared to many sites, David's motomatters seems to draw some of the best written, well thought out posts that raise intersting discussion threads. That is a tribute to David as his articles are informative and the opinion piece interesting, no matter if you agree or disagree.

With this particular story, it is evident that most people understand the legalities of the contract. And of course Rossi won't just go and test without permission as he would be sued by Yamaha and it's sponsors on a civil basis.

However, Ducati has already released Stoner to test, notwithstanding his contract. And everyone should know that Yamaha can certainly do the same ... ending the legal discussion.

I think it is a class act on Ducati's part even if they are hoping to leverage image and have Yamaha follow suit. It will be a CLASSLESS act if Yamaha doesn't allow Rossi to test in Valencia and it will tarnish their brand name.

In the case of Stoner leaving Ducati, there is a lot of goodwill and amicability on both sides, including the fact that Stoner is pretty obviously doing his best for the brand for every race and Ducati trust him with continuing development.

In Rossi's case, there has been growing tension and suggestions from both sides of disloyalty and underhand manouevers. The lack of goodwill is palpable and frankly understandable - and I'm not taking any sides as to who started that situation.

Rossi's 'brand' value (and his remuneration) greatly exceeds Stoner's, in both cases, and of course when Rossi departs, Yamaha loses a major sponsor, unlike the case at Ducati. In this sort of situation, it's pretty understandable that tempers and tolerance would be stretched.

"In the case of Stoner leaving Ducati, there is a lot of goodwill and amicability on both sides, including the fact that Stoner is pretty obviously doing his best for the brand for every race and Ducati trust him with continuing development."

Quite a good point. Stoner certainly doesn't burn his bridges as Honda have shown they are quite happy to have him back and the current relationship with Ducati seems sound.

I completely disagree with your post Oscar. The ideal situation for Ducati would have been to have Stoner and Rossi. It isn't nearly as amicable as you suggest. Ducati is taking the high road (as Yamaha should) in allowing the testing to occur at Valencia for stoner (and outside of contract, I might add).

What do you mean when you talk about Rossi's "disloyalty and underhand manouevers"??? Because he actually engaged Lorenzo and RACED in those final laps that have been the topic of so many posts??? That is TOTAL BS ... FINALLY, fans were greeted with real racing that reflects what we constantly see in Moto2 and the 125's. Lorenzo was equally responsible for engaging Rossi, which made for some great racing! Additionally, Rossi fought hard to come back WAY EARLIER than expected after his leg injury. How is that not being loyal to Yamaha ... as an attendee, I can tell you it dramatically increased the attendance at Laguna Seca and that he well represented Yamaha in his comeback.

Rossi is peppered with questions about Yamaha allowing him to test and he is stating the reality of the situation. Period.

Honda is a major competitor to Ducati in the sport bike market. That they are allowing (outside of the original contract with the Dec. 31st expiration date) to test in Valencia speaks VOLUMES to the public. Yamaha can end this useless squable right now by allowing Rossi the same courtesy which is generally standard protocal. And I can assure you that not one sponsor would disagree with this from a marketing perspective!

Ducati's chief has already said, half jokingly, that the bike can be painted blue if that is what it takes!

I said quite clearly that the disloyalty and underhand stuff came from both sides in the Yamaha camp, and if you wish me to be more explicit I believe it started in earnest with Lorenzo's contract conditions in '09 - though the wall was certainly a teaser.

As for the amicability in the Ducati camp, I refer you to the trackside interviews with Stoner and Guareschi at (from memory) Brno. It was unscripted, not modified by any journalist's selection of quotes and pretty much as if one of the family was leaving home to try his luck in the wide world out there. You cannot find one carping comment from either side in the Ducati camp since Stoner made his announcement.

I join with just about everybody in hoping Rossi WILL be able to test the Duc at Valencia, I want him as quickly competitive on the Duc as possible. It'll never settle the nagging question of who would be faster on the Duc, Stoner or Rossi, but it'll help.

Good point ... you did mention that it is coming from both sides of the garage. But I still don't see how Rossi has been disloyal and underhanded in the process.

Lorenzo is the best rider in MotoGP and fully deserves his championship title. Rossi; Stoner; Pedrosa; Dovi and Spies are all elite riders near the top of the premier class. So the animosity in the garage just requires some baby-sitting ... but on the track it is all about racing.

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out into the 2011 season ... just wish the grid would get larger with more of the top riders from Moto2 moving up ...

The ideal situation for Ducati would have been to have Stoner and Rossi.

No, *that* would be *far* from ideal. The current situation in the factory Yamaha garage proves that.

I don't think animosity in the garage means too much ... just competitors who may be even more driven in the race ... making for more exciting racing.

It will be interesting to see if Spies really challenges Lorenzo on the factory bike. Because I think you are suggesting that it is better to have one great rider and one mid-pack for it to work in the paddock. No offense to Hayden (I'm a fan), but I would love to have seen a Rossi/Stoner 'team' on the Ducs in 2011. Not in the cards for many reasons ... but it would have been interesting.

Bob46 has an interesting idea there.

Rossi can afford the fines, and it sure as hell won't hurt his image if on January 2nd, 2011, he rents Misano, and rides the crap out of his new bike.

Dorna set the precedent earlier this season, gonna be hard pressed to hammer him harder than they did the previous miscreant.

Fook mi? No, fook u. That's very Rossi-esque... :D

I've often thought that this was a matter that should have stayed private beween Rossi and Yamaha. It is obvious that he is trying to apply pressure to Yamaha but Rossi's public airing of the matter seems less than clean to me.

To be fair to Rossi, it is something he is constantly asked about as well. Neither Yamaha nor Rossi come out of this particularly well, but both sides are in a difficult situation. 

Actually, this situation is honestly not that complicated (even with 100+ page detailed contracts in place). Ducati has the same type of contract in place with Stoner vis-a-vis all the sponsors in the wings as Yamaha does with Rossi ... and they've already given permission to Stoner to test with their rival. It doesn't matter who you are a fan of ... it is the right thing to do. The PR advantage of doing so far outweighs the ramifications of Rossi gaining some edge. Especially if Yamaha is confident in its offering ... which it should be, given the developmental edge the M1 has at this point.

The simple solution is for Yamaha to step up to the plate and allow Rossi to test with Ducati. It ends the legal and PR nightmare that they are allowing to occur. The other sponsors should be more upset that Yamaha is allowing all of us to get broiled up in these conversations (well, electronic threads, really). It doesn't help their image at all.

I hope we see the right solution to this predicament ... and that we all get to read your interviews/thoughts after you talk with both Stoner and Rossi in Valencia.

Great site David!

"To be fair to Rossi, it is something he is constantly asked about as well. Neither Yamaha nor Rossi come out of this particularly well, but both sides are in a difficult situation."

Yeah, I figured it would be a common question he was asked. Just thought that he could have kept it low key.... if he really wanted to.

It's truly blowing my mind, seeing how many people are so plugged in to the marketing divisions of Petronas, FIAT, and the rest of the Yamaha sponsors. To think that if I wanted to know the minutiae of FIAT's newest ad campaign, all I would have to do is ask MotoMatters readers.

The fact is, we *don't* know what the marketers want. By releasing Rossi from his contract early, Big Blue could quite easily piss off a sponsor or two who had full intention of continuing to work with Yamaha in the future. Yamaha have more than PR image to be concerned about: they have to worry about funding for 2011+, and no matter how much we pretend to know everything, we simply do not know how the sponsors will react to an early contract release.

Do the fans want Rossi released early? Absolutely. Does Rossi, Ducati, Dorna, and all of MotoGP want an early termination of contract? We can logically assume (but not know!) yes. Does Yamaha want to release Rossi? That's a trickier question, one that does not boil down into easily-debated stances. There are many factors that play into making the decision, decisions that are made well above all of our pay grades, decisions that carry consequences that reach far beyond the track, in ways that very few of us can imagine.

Consider the sponsor's perspective on all of this: if Rossi gets released early, the sponsor loses two months of advertising time that they paid for. They gain no compensation for this lost time, and *nobody* is going to say, "Oh, Petronas was OK with releasing Rossi early from his contract... I think I'll invest in Petronas to reward them for it!" On the other side of the coin, if Rossi is not released from his contract early, the sponsor gets the two extra months that they paid for (and, let's be honest here: we're not talking chump change here. This is big money being thrown around, even for the smaller sponsors.) whilst taking none of the flak. Again, nobody is going to say, "Oh, Petronas are evil because they didn't release Rossi from his contract early. I'm never going to invest in them again."

The sponsors have only one dog in the fight, and that's Return On Investment. If they get plainly snubbed by the factory, why should they continue to sponsor the team? Obviously, the factory cares more about perserving their image than they do about honoring a large financial commitment that they made with the sponsor. What's to keep them from doing it again, and again, and again?

Let's stop pretending to know what everyone is thinking. We're not telepaths. Let's talk facts, not fiction.

For Rossi to test the Duc in Valencia, Yamaha could easily write a rider to the contract that releases him for that specific test ... not necessarily the rest of his contract.

Can David or someone clarify if Stoner has been released from the rest of his contract ... or just for the testing in Valencia.

Exactly this. Casey Stoner has not been released from his contract, he has been given permission to test the Honda at Valencia. Yamaha could do exactly the same thing for Rossi. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Stoner (and Rossi, if he's allowed) will test in neutral leathers, with no markings on the bike.

Thanks for the quick response David. Let's hope we get to read your post-Valencia report with a run-down on Rossi included.

GREAT SITE! ... the best imo on MotoGP racing.

You climbed way up on your high horse and proclaimed "facts, not fiction". Then you went on to offer nothing of value. Let's look at what you call facts, shall we?

  • we *don't* know what the marketers want
  • There are many factors that play into making the decision, decisions that are made well above all of our pay grades, decisions that carry consequences that reach far beyond the track, in ways that very few of us can imagine

Gee, thanks. You've really shed a lot of light on the situation with your "facts".

Now let's look at the rest of your tirade. Oh wait, nevermind. It's nothing but off-hand speculation about lost advertising and who might or might not invest in Petronas.

It's obvious to me that you have a strong disdain for Val Rossi and a man-crush on Jorge Lorenzo. Obviously, it is your blog so you can write whatever you please but I'm curious as to what it is that Rossi has done that pissed you off? Please share.

I have nothing but admiration for both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. They are the two best riders in the world at the current moment, and Rossi has very strong credentials for claiming to be the best of all time. But you will see what you want to see.

If Yamaha hold Rossi to his contract, what do they gain, the amount of pr etc that he will do between the end of the season and 01/01/11 will be negligable. Everybody knows he is leaving to join Ducati, surely anything he does for Yamaha during this period will be tainted and of no marketing value to the companies involved?

I totally agree. Whether they release Rossi for just the testing or the balance of his contract, it will be far better PR for Yamaha and the sponsors from the public's perspective and in the name of being sportman-like competitors.