After a Week of Rumors, Rossi Tells Italian TV He Will Remain With Ducati

Valentino Rossi's litany of complaints about the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 given live on Italian TV after the Qatar round of MotoGP triggered a wave of speculation. For the first time, Rossi had openly complained that Ducati had not given him the bike that he believes he needs to go fast, and that he had felt like pulling in before the end of the race. That, combined with an interview Rossi also did with the Italian magazine Motosprint in which he implied that Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi was failing to provide the help that he and the other Ducati riders needed caused a massive reaction throughout the media and across the web.

Some reaction was amusing, such as the Downfall parody on Youtube, discussing Rossi's poor qualifying at Qatar. Others were more serious, including an article on the Spanish website suggesting that Rossi could try to get out of his contract before the year was over and wait for 2013, when, the article suggested, he could obtain a satellite Yamaha M1 to compete with, with the blessing of Dorna. Rumors quickly started to grow that Rossi's relationship with Ducati could be over, and sooner than anyone expected.

Ducati moved slowly to counter the reports, CEO Gabriele del Torchio telling the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that it was "too early to talk of a divorce". But the waiting was for a response from Valentino Rossi himself.

That finally came today, at Monza, where Rossi is competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series with his best friend Alessio "Uccio" Salucci. Italian TV presenter Valerio Stafelli presented Rossi with a "Tapiro d'Oro", a satirical prize for well-known Italians who have good reason to be sad (the tapir's long face is said to make it look sad), and Rossi seized the opportunity to announce on TV that he was intending to stay with Ducati, and no divorce was imminent. "I am very 'attapirato' [I have a very long face - MM] because with this Ducati, I cannot be competitive," Rossi told TV host Stafelli. "I can't ride at 100%, and the others are all very fast."

But he would not be giving up any time soon, Rossi said. "We will keep trying at every race," he told Stafelli, "We will not give up." As for all the talk of a split with Ducati, Rossi denied any idea of leaving. "I will stay with Ducati. We will do everything we can to make the pairing of Rossi and Ducati function successfully."

For a considered view of the Rossi/Ducati situation, and the possible permutations of Rossi's future, we recommend you read Dennis Noyes' take on the situation over on the Speed TV website.

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I think it validates your theory that the Phillip Morris contract won't be easy to get out of. I'd also believe there are some updates coming (after Jerez?) that Rossi hopes will make a difference, and he's probably using the press to help make it absolutely clear how important those are.

David, interesting times!! I hope they find a solution, but it seems to me(from an outside vantage) that they've changed everything but the motor and yet it's still the same problem. It makes me think that while the "frame-less" chassis might be a valid design, the front end issues won't go away until they make the break from a 90 degree motor. I guess I don't get Ducati's reluctance to use a different angle. I know Ducati says the 90 degree motor "is Ducati", but they'd still sell a ton of bikes even if they change. Honda sold a ton of CBR's, and while they claim it has "Motogp" technology, it certainly didn't have a V5. I guess Ducati needs to decide whether they want to "be Ducati", retain the 90 degree motor and fight for 5th or worse, or if they want to win. The entire world knows what Rossi wants.

As far as Rossi starting his own team, it's an interesting rumor. I can't see him doing it unless he gets a full factory bike. But, if he can get that I think it makes sense. It'd allow him to compete and maybe even more importantly from Dorna's perspective, it might plant the future seeds of Rossi running a team with other riders when he decides to quit racing. I can see it now, "Valentino Rossi WLF Racing Team"!

brilliant! I'd buy a team Tshirt to support them no matter who they had riding for them.

re: "If you spoke to most of the engineers in the world their choice of engine would be a 90-degree V."

straight from the "racing" horse's mouth.

and if that ain't enough, somebody arrange a conference call with checa, giugliano, bayliss, hodgy, foggy, corser, shakey, lavilla, toseland, reynolds, roberts, roche, polen, etc.

Ps: RIP hizzy.

There's obvious differences in a WSBK bike and a Motogp, so what may work for one might not for the other. Weight, tires, frame design, brake system ect are all different. It just seems to me that Ducati has changed everything...except for engine angle and the symptoms have stayed the same. And while an engineer may prefer the 90 degree motor over any other, Ducati seem to be the only team using it. If it was so superior you'd expect other teams to be using it too. And last time I watched a race I didn't see a single engineer gridding up.

BTW I don't have any special insight, just seems to be something to look at from a problem solving view point

with the reams and GB's of data Ducati Corse have that they (just in the manner of Yamaha in the early part of the four stroke era did) have not considered, and computer simulated, various engine configurations? The different ways they might generate power and the impact that would have on a chassis? The various static and dynamic weight distributions, with full and empty tanks - be that above the engine or under the seat - or split between the two? I don't know, but I kind of think they probably have given the amount of engineering talent they have on hand. Various ways to skin cats and all that.....

I could well be wrong but I don't consider a 90 degree vee four such a corporate block for Ducati. WSBK and it's production link for sure 90 degrees is a big part of their corporate and historic identity. Their main point of difference in GP is the Desmo heads and their positive valve closure. All that said I hope they're sticking with the L vee.

If Corse didn't think 90 degrees was best - or workable within the parameters set - it wouldn't be there. They're in the racing to win game.

One of the best interviews I've read in a long time. Actually, I think the last great interview I read was also KRJR.

That was a great interview. I have always felt like KRJR was an intelligent racer/ person. Just feel like he has been overlooked. Great interview. Very insightful. Thanks!

That was a great interview. I have always felt like KRJR was an intelligent racer/ person. Just feel like he has been overlooked. Great interview. Very insightful. Thanks!

That's a great article. It echoes some things in an a very enlightening old Soupkast interview with him from some time ago on his career. Speaking about his time at Suzuki post WC sounded very much like the Ducati debacle. KRjr explained how he wasn't going to go out there and crash just to prove a point. He knew it wasn't up to snuff and was not going to over ride it because Suzuki was in denial of it's shortcomings or didn't have the resources to address them. I was listening to this while Stoner was still riding for Ducati and to me it sounded very much like the situation Casey was in. Casey complained at the lack of development pace and Stoner was crashing a lot to keep it up at the front end of things.

Is that the most intelligent comment/interview ever given by an ex-rider? Well thought out and articulated, and - completely at odds with most - does not try to either big himself up, nor put anyone else down. A great article.
(edit: whoops, this was meant to be in response to the comment by krka quoting the superbikeplanet interview with KRJR)

I totally agree with the posts above...this article is very informative and insightful. A good read in general, but I recommend any Rossi fan who is still delusional about his development skills to give this a look. Kenny's answers throughout the interview help to bring a lot of reality to that myth.

As I've said before. Let him handle the SBK and road going bikes, and leave the prototypes to someone who knows how to make them go fast and who listens to other peoples opinions.

Preziosi designed the GP7, the bike won Ducati's first ever manufacturers' and riders' WC. We know that Stoner was an integral part of Ducati's success, but we also know that when Preziosi's bikes are ridden as intended, they win.

In fact, the bike/rider combination was so good in 2007 that it frightened the GPC, and they began holding emergency tire meetings. Valentino somehow scored a switch to Bridgestone tires in the process. As the tires changed, Ducati's fortunes started to go pear-shaped.

Preziosi and Stoner are victims of their own success. You don't fire people like that......unless you're Marlboro. They tend to make decisions at the height of nicotine withdrawal, like when Arrivabene called out Stoner for getting sick.

Don't be like Arrivabene.

Your logic defending Preziosi seems a little off the mark. If the other factories were able to catch up by switching to Bridgestone, then the advantage wasn't the bike, it was the tires.

It was all Stoner/Bridgestone starting with the GP7, and I'd say the GP6 was probably all around a more competitive motorcycle. Now that Stoner has left, the group of riders who can "ride Preziosi's bikes as intended" is exactly zero. I'm not saying he should be fired, as the blame at Ducati can't be narrowed down to one person. The fact is the current Ducati cannot compete for the podium, so they better figure out how to make it work with the riders they have, not the riders they wish they had.

...I think that it wasn't so much that the other manufacturers caught up due to their switch to Bridgestones as Ducati lost their advantage when they were no longer the only Bridgestone users. The tires became less focused on the strengths needed by Ducati/Stoner, more generic. I think we've seen since then that a single tire rule suits Yamaha - the best balanced bike - better than any other bike on the grid.

(From memory a similar thing happened to McCoy after he had such unexpected success sliding around on the 16.5" tires - when everyone else wanted to try that size the tire manufacturer no longer had the capacity to produce his favourite compound and he lost a chunk of his advantage.)

I've not defended Preziosi, I've simply recounted the events at the beginning of the 800cc era. If I wanted to defend Preziosi, I'd say that MotoGP is a highly competitive micro-economy. If Preziosi is fired, he'll end up working against Ducati at another manufacturer. I would also say that executives should only be hired and fired, based on historical performance, if the company plans to move backward through time. He has already demonstrated competence. In the absence of a sustained technological shift or impending shift, I wouldn't terminate his employment. Tires are a big deal, but Bstone doesn't want control tires, and Dorna have hired Yasukawa, ostensibly to get some functional tire homologation regs and testing procedures hammered out.

Furthermore, fuel-limited racing is not bike or tires, it's bike and tires. Higher lateral acceleration means higher corner entry and exit speeds, which reduce fuel consumption at a set lap time. Ducati had the engine and electronics package to make use of the fuel savings, other manufacturers did not. Ducati had a chassis/rider combo that gelled with the new 2007 Bridgestone tires. They won, and the rules started changing.

Preziosi's statement that Casey "rides the bike as it was intended" seem to be right up there with "fix it in 80 seconds" or "he's not riding it hard enough" in famous foot in mouth Ducati-isms. That would have required Preziosi/Ducati to design a bike that could only be ridden a very specific way by a rider they had yet to meet. If it was intentional that it could only be so narrowly competitive then they could maybe have articulated to the riders they did have or would have exactly how it was that the bike was intended to be riden. With the results so far save Casey's wouldn't one then ask why design a bike so unsuitable for most and instead design one equally capable in the hands of those who are competitively fast on other machines? I maintain that they got lucky with Casey to happen on an up and comer that was competitively fast and happened to have a style that was halfway compatible with the machine.

All the same I don't see any need for a Ducati witch hunt. I'm sure Preziosi is as capable of designing a winning bike as resources and time will allow. Both are not and have not been as available as some would desire. They are very much punching above their weight and at present taking a beating for it.

I love the guy but if you are last Ducati and about 1 sec off from your team mate in qual...
I think he just hates the new bike because there is no yellow on it...Make his bike YELLOW! It worked for Honda and Yam...

Rossi may well have given Ducati a boot up the fundamental that they needed, but I doubt he'll be happy that the unintended consequence of that has been to cement Stoner's status as not just a rider of exceptional ability, but the only rider ever to exceed Rossi's win rate in head-to-head competition - and that on a bike that has to be accepted as significantly inferior.

The careers of those two riders are inextricably linked, and have been ever since Stoner joined the motoGp class. It was, after all, Stoner who denied Rossi the WC in '06: Rossi, riding with an 8-point advantage over Hayden in the last race, was stuck behind Stoner for the first four laps and Rossi crashed trying to pass him, thus losing the WC to Hayden.

>>It was, after all, Stoner who denied Rossi the WC in '06: Rossi, riding with an 8-point advantage over Hayden in the last race, was stuck behind Stoner for the first four laps and Rossi crashed trying to pass him, thus losing the WC to Hayden.

Yes, everyone who ever spent 10 sec in front of Rossi in 2006 was responsible for denying Rossi his rightful title. It could not have been down to a season of effort and consistency from the guy that won it.

If you actually look at video of the crash Stoner was gapping Rossi, who was under pressure from a Suzuki and folded like a house of cards. Something I never expected to happen. Nor did Dorna, if the yellow smoke and fireworks at the race end were any indication. 20 sec in.


Sorry, I didn't mean to diminish Hayden's title in any way, he won it from dogged perseverance. I was trying to bring out the point that at the time Rossi crashed out, was was 11 points adrift of Hayden's position with only 8 points in hand - so he needed to pass both Stoner and Pedrosa to take the championship, and it happened to be Stoner who was the bike ahead of him needing to be overtaken. But yes, Stoner was opening up the gap, not the other way around, so ironically Stoner was the first impediment Rossi had to negotiate..

Rossi's crash in that case appeared to be entirely an unforced error, and stoner was nowhere near him at the time of the crash.

Rossi has always been a late race rider and not a "jump out in front and build up a lead" rider. Its one reason he has so many fans. Passes are exciting.

"The careers of those two riders are inextricably linked, and have been ever since Stoner joined the motoGp class. It was, after all, Stoner who denied Rossi the WC in '06: Rossi, riding with an 8-point advantage over Hayden in the last race, was stuck behind Stoner for the first four laps and Rossi crashed trying to pass him, thus losing the WC to Hayden."

As pointed out above Stoner may have been present but not much of as factor in the Yamaha/Rossi 2006 near miss unless you want to count anyone and everyone who was on track in 2006. This was the year where consistency brought home the prize. The Yamaha was having some inconsistencies of it's own that year as remarked in the Rossi/Furusawa retrospective of the M1's over the years. If any other rider threw a banana peel under Rossi's heel on the march towards the title it was Elias' amazing victory in Estoril. Absolutely fearsome ride by Toni the tiger in that race. Result of piping Rossi at the line cost him the 5 points that would have pushed the title to Rossi when all was said and done. Ultimately and deservedly the real reason Rossi lost the title was because of Hayden on a Repsol Honda.

I also disagree that Rossi and Stoner's careers are so intertwined except in the minds of some fans. Their careers overlap significantly but are not so linked. Rossi had already been in the top class six years and had 5 titles by the time Stoner showed up. Stoner will likely prove to be one of Rossi's greatest career rivals and one of the prime ones in the latter half of his career. To Stoner I imagine Rossi represented the mountain to climb and the old guard to replace.

If Stoner's career is intertwined with anyone's then it's Lorenzo's. They battled it out in the lower classes when Rossi had already achieved premier class championships.

I was only commenting on the era of them racing head-to-head in the same class; Stoner until last year was being 'measured' against Rossi in every way, and that of course has reversed with Rossi at Ducati. Rossi was also measured against Lorenzo, of course, in '10, and now the Stoner-Lorenzo show is the biggest in town. The comment about '06 was rather tongue-in-cheek, but it's also true that Rossi recognised Stoner as a potential serious competitor even then.

My humble opinion.

I agree with armco. Back when there was a tire war (Michelin vs. Bridgestone), Ducati stuck by Bridgestone and therefore got tires designed to suit them, their bike, their needs etc... maybe some preferential treatment even (over Suzuki and Kawasaki). But as it has evolved, the spec tire has hurt Ducati more as the "generic" tire is suited now for the bikes in general.

Bridgestone is a Japanese company and they know that a nominal bike would be a Japanese bike like the Honda and Yamaha. If it's suits them, it must be good right?

The Desmosedici was designed with and for a different tire. As great as Stoner is....That Ducati has not really been the same since the the Bridgetone Single Tire was introduced. Stoner had SOME success on the Ducati after '07 yes, but not nearly to the same degree.... including a number of front end low-side crashes to boot.

Me personally, I think they should get rid of the spec tire rule. MotoGP allows and encourages companies to get creative with different protype designs but then asks them to run on the exact same tire. You've got totally different designed bikes, philosophies, styles, riders but this tire restriction doesn't allow the full potential of their efforts. Single Tire works great for and should remain in WSBK IMHO.

Bridgestone making different tires for different bikes/riders I think would at least improve the show. For Honda too (who's experiencing chatter).

This is just my observation over the years and my humble opinion as an avid MotoGP follower/watcher/subscriber/fan since 2001, I admit I didn't follow prior to nor know much prior to 2001.

I enjoy the reads and reading the comments......

The tyre war could be improved a bit by creating rules where the tyre allocations have to be delivered 3-4 races ahead, so the tyres have to be designed with a larger working range in mind & the war wouldn't be as extreme. The other option being Bridgestone making different tyres to suit different bikes, which I think is the smartest option. Would it be possible to performance balance them however? Different carcasses, but same compound? I think Dorna should accomodate Ducati, MotoGP is after all an advertisement for the factories and it shouldn't be so that they have to forgo their entire philosophy just to compete because they were outvoted.

I disagree. I think spec tires help the competition. Without them there will be another variable that teams can get either right or wrong. Just look at the 07 season where Stoner won 12 races, is that what we really want?

Spec tires is just like the minimum weight, maximum bore etc. It helps prevent one manufacturer from creating something that will run eights around the others.

Did you not watch last season? Spec tires and stoner wins a zillion races

1) The line in the downfall parody when the woman is reassuring the weeping girl that scooters won't get you entry into the Ducati club was hysterical.

2) The KRJR interview was excellent. I tell my journalism students that the best writing they will ever do will make their readers feel like they are listening directly to the subject of the article. Dean could have simply transcribed KRJR's quotes and it still would have been excellent. The comments about Hopkins are painful to read, they are so real.

Yeah, Stoner also spent 3 years binning a substandard bike just because if he didn't then his value in the GP world would have sunk drastically. Rossi has nothing to prove, like Roberts he knows he could be competitive on the right bike and I think we all know that even Stoner couldn't elevate the GP12 into a championship winning bike (though maybe he'd win a couple).

Stoner spent 3 years binning a substandard bike because he is a competitor and a racer, and because he believed he belonged at the front. Just like any champion.

It is naive to think that Rossi has nothing to prove at Ducati. He made the choice to refuse Yamaha's terms and move to Ducati. It's a clear as can be that he and Burgess expected a repeat of 2004, and so did a lot of his fans. It was Burgess who said they would be in a better position at Ducati in 2011 than they were at Yamaha in 2004. Rossi's reputation has suffered at Ducati and it is foolish to pretend otherwise. Rossi knows that better than anyone.

Great interview with KRJnr, and a very good summary of Rossi's career. Rossi is a great rider who also always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Until 2011...

Stoner really only spent 1 year binning a substandard bike, in 2010. In fact when you look at it it was mainly just the first half of that season, because they did eventually find a set up solution at Aragon after which he scored 3 wins and 9 podiums. Rossi had the same amount of stacks the following year for just 1 podium, so its not that he's not prepared to push. He just couldn't/can't ride it fast enough.

As I mentioned in another post, Suzuki lost their way when Itoh-san (a world champ) left as Racing Manager and the engineers took over. They completely lost their way. I was at Donington and Suzuki where running a third bike. The engine sounded different, I asked Ken Suzuki (the engineer in charge of running the third bike) was the exhaust different or the timing different, he said no, I asked the Suzuki team if they knew why and they had no idea what they were doing as they were operating a completely different factory team and did not even talk. The answer was clear next year as soon as I heard the new engine, they were testing the new V config which if i recall was a change from 70 to 65 degree V (or the other way around - I just checked and it was 2002 and it was 60 to 65 degree) the exhaust sound was exactly the same.
Kenny was a great guy and a real racer, quiet, hard working and well liked. But he could throw his helmet right across the garage really hard when he was pissed. He brought a new thinking for riders with his personal trainer Dean.
His biggest problem mentally was Dad, who was his inspiration and the monkey on his back at the same time and something I have understood more as my own son grew up. He could have been better than Dad, but was thwarted by the machinery, that really took a lot out of him, as it wasn't lack of ability, and the longer it went on, the more frustrated he became, until he lost interest completely.
John was(is) a great rider, loved by all who worked with him and a real tryer, but not a limitless talent. He never understood the throttle goes both ways, and sometimes it was better to come third than bin it 3 laps from the end, for the team if not for him. Mind you the engine he had was probably as bad as it could be without being an old Trumpet. His efforts since he left Motogp have been the same, trying very hard and breaking more and more of his body, and failing to get the points on the board, which inevitably runis his championship chances, viz the last race last year.
Don't write off the chance of Vale on a Suzuki, as he would give them the best chance of sponsorship and could get their efforts brought forward if the money was available. The Yam deal would not be easy to do, as the factory would not want to see him pushing them from victory, as as for going back with Herve, that would have been ok in 2000 not now.

re: "Don't write off the chance of Vale on a Suzuki, as he would give them the best chance of sponsorship and could get their efforts brought forward if the money was available."

you can go ahead and write that one off.

Nobody suggested Rossi on an Aprilia CRT yet did they? That would spike a bit more interest in CRT bikes and it's an Italian brand.

on a bike designed for Biaggi? I dont think so :)

but Rossi obviously still wants to fight near the front.

I don't think being deep in the pack - nowhere near the race winner - but the first CRT across the line will interest him.

agreed, if he's not happy fighting for maybe a top 5 or 6 on the Ducati, I don't see him risking everything for 10th on a CRT. Of course stranger things have happened!

Maybe a lighter engine combined with an increased weight limit to balance to 90V was Ducati's strategy all along? After all they have to be still running the 1000 they designed for a monocoque chassis, they haven't mentioned a new one.

It was funny I never thought of Rossi on a Suzuki. It hit me as soon as I read the article. Then I saw someone mention it. To me if he is not fighting for a podium after Estoril I think this would be his only option. Think about it Bautista was doing some amazing things on that bike last year. Also Kevin Schwantz was trying to run the team a few years ago and I'm positive that Rossi would join him there. And he would get a Factory Ride and would prove that it was The Ducati and not him that was the problem and I think that would be the end of Ducati in MotoGp unless another Stoner would come in. Now who would join Ducati after Rossi leaves? Also Suzuki is still Developing there MotoGp Bike. So this really could be a possibility. I don't think it would be a money issiue with Rossi and they wouldn't have a problem getting a sponsor to jump on board. Really surprise no one else has mention this lately.

with Schwantz as manager! Cor, that sounds even better than his last arranged marriage to Ducati. Why wait for the ink to dry on that divorce. "C'mon Jerry my best man, all this Suzuki needs is a little wave of your magic wand and some of my pixie dust and we're back!"

For a dozen or more different reasons it's not going to happen is it?

No one has mentioned Rossi on a Suzuki because it's highly unlikely in my opinion. Rossi would go race in WSBK before joining Suzuki, Kawasaki or any CRT teams......I think.

WSBK would seem like a great (and attractive) challenge to him. With MotoGP suffering (ratings, sponsors, money, restrictions and overall blandness), I'd see Rossi taking on a WSBK challenge. He'd see it as a great opportunity to him to prove his worth. I wouldn't consider it impossible.

I can see it now..."Rossi goes to WSBK.....WSBK becomes the most watched, most favorable, more exciting series, as MotoGP continues on it's road into the shitter". All the while Yamaha is still searching for a sponsor.....:)

Anyway, I think Rossi on the 1199 Panigale in 2013 would be a big seller and attract a huge audience thus commanding attention. It'd be fun to watch.

I think Rossi should end up in a couple wildecards next year if he stays with Duke, but it's be a sad sight to see one of the Aliens leave.

The only problem with Rossi going to WSBK is I really don't think that Carmelo Ezpeleta won't let his money maker leave MotoGp. Don't forget Dorna owns both series. I also think Schwantz Suzuki Know how and Rossi Burgess team could make it work. I thought Suzuki was still developing the bike. Just my 2 cents.

Dorna does not own WSBK. Bridgepoint Capital, which owns Dorna, recently purchased Infront Sports & Media, of which Infront Motor Sports is a subsidiary. As such, Ezpeleta has no control or say over WSBK, which is still run by the Flammini brothers.

Bridgepoint don't really care whether Rossi races in one series or the other, the income he generates will end up in their bank account either way, and that's the only thing they care about. They may have a mild preference for MotoGP, as it can probably generate more revenue for them with Rossi than WSBK could with Rossi.

However, you are right to say that Ezpeleta probably wants to keep Rossi in the series, but he has known for a while that Rossi will retire at some point in the future. The question is, milk Rossi some more, or prepare for the inevitable future without Rossi?

I think Schantz' friendship with Sic might have been part of a long game. Kevin saw a lot of his younger self in Marco, both nice guys off the track and banzai riders with loads of talent on it. A perfect partnership, alas no more.
I dont know how well they (KS and VR) get on, but I would suspect IF it were to happen, it would be with Crescent and their organisation.

swantz's friendship with Sic part of a "long game"? There is a limit to the irresponsible musings on comments page. Either you are clumsy with language, or you are devoid of human feeling. Swartz is a wear it on your sleeve kind of guy, and the suggestion he made a friendship with sic for ny reason other than he liked the guy is just flat repulsive.

So people, get a life. Rossi and Swantz are pretty tight, but the odds of Rossi ever riding a Suzuki gp bike are the same as him walking to the moon on a tightrope made of spun gold.

To see what Dorna treasure see who is in Rossi's pit box after the title goes to Hayden. Clapping and patting the loser, Rossi, on the back after he binned the bike and ran around last all race. Race is won by Bayliss and Hayden takes the title. Surely, Mr. Ex should have been in parc ferme awaiting the new champion. If I'd have even Hayden's manager or agent I'd be plenty upset by this.

And, please no Rossi to Suzuki should they actually return in 2014. I think Rossi with his last tirade won't be welcome on any team.

Rossi going to WSBK is the same as Rossi semi-retiring. He said it himself, 'WSBK is like Serie B' [Series B is Italian Football's minor leagues, it Serie A is the top, or MotoGP, level]. It would be a self-declaration of defeat for him.

Rossi in WSBK would be awesome, however, there is real risk in that move. Even Rossi has said that Motogp is a higher caliber of competition than WSBK and if he failed to sweep the floor with the junior varsity guys he'd have done even more damage to his legend.

In the GpOne article quoting the Del Torchio article referred to, there is a slight difference in the translation from a Google translate version, that is very interesting:

When asked about 2013, Del Torchio preferred not to speculate: "Valentino isn't the only top rider whose contract will expire at the end of this year

Read more:

If that isn't a thinly-veiled threat that Ducati may seek to replace Rossi, I've never heard one, and the veil is so thin that if Salome used the material she'd be a porn star..

Sure, Ducati may try and replace Rossi, but does anyone actually think any of the other top riders are willing to go there? Succeeding with Rossi is more likely than failing with Rossi (and Stoner) and then signing another Stoner type talent who not only can go fast on a substandard bike, but is willing to pass up better rides.

Is not trying hard enough on that Ducati. What is he paid 15 million Euros for - to lollygag around at the back of the field? The bloke has been a dummy-spitter for years but the press refuse to call it for what it is because they are weak and cannot bear to be harrassed by the Rossiacs.

I don't think it's as clear cut as that. While del Torchio's comments have probably done little but add a few million $$ to Lorenzo's, Pedrosa's and Stoners salary, there are surely those who would look and say (unless Rossi picks up his game and is regularly on the top of the Ducati heap) - well, I can do better than that, and being seen as better than Rossi would be good on the 'ol CV. Iannone, Crutchlow, Redding perhaps?

I'm slightly confused by anyone NOT hoping Rossi succeeds at Ducati. Why wouldn't you want him
to compete for wins and the WC? I'm a race fan and have never rooted against anyone in racing........I have my favorites, but all these guys are so talented its scary! ALL of them!

The question(s) we all have, and which we may never get the answers too, is Ducati doing what Rossi is really requesting, OR, do the engineers have a different idea about the direction the team should take? Stoner's statements, after FP1/2/3 in Qatar were VERY illuminating: he was complaining about chatter and the team wasn't listening to him, saying---your still the can't be as bad as your saying. Hmmm...Stoner's team/engineers weren't listening to HIM...the guy that won the WC for Honda and decimated the competition! IS Ducati really LISTENING to Rossi, or are they thinking, 'yeah, but . . . . this worked before'. I'm NOT making excuses for Rossi, but I DO know a few engineers and they are a different bunch.

Any comments/opinions here?

Engineers, particularly Ducati's are taking a bit of a bashing.
I think it is being overlooked how much easier it is to describe any problem than it is to engineer a solution that works. Good feedback is critical, and that from the top riders probably comes with suggestions of possible improvements which may be good or may be bad.
But good description of the problems doesn't necessarily lead directly to solutions particularly with hard to define concepts such as "lack of feel" or the notoriously difficult chatter(eg VR in 2006).
I am not an engineer nor trying to defend them but think that it is implausible to suggest that the Ducati or Honda crew aren't trying their hardest to achieve bikes that offer the best balance in all areas. Lack of success in solving problems doesn't necessarily come from a lack of effort or lack of listening.

Rossi made his bed and now he has to lay in it. Remember, he could have stayed at Yamaha last year as the #2 to Lorenzo and possibly even had a run at the title. He gambled and didn't come out on top this time.

It happens all the time, except most personalities aren't as big as Rossi's. Most exchamps are alowed to fade away like KRJR or go to another serise. Rossi only has one good option and a few not so good.

The GP12 may get slightly better by midseason but I can't see any whole sale improvents to where it will match the Honda or Yamaha. It will always be that part of a second behind. Great for Hayden. Too bad for Val. Like Ali, who stayed too long in the game, Rossi needs to leave after his next high point (wet race win, podium, what ever) call it good and pull out. Leave SBK alone. Nothing to prove, Sit out a year and then return. All the bad days will likely be forgot about.

Rossi made his bed and now he has to lay in it. Remember, he could have stayed at Yamaha last year as the #2 to Lorenzo and possibly even had a run at the title. He gambled and didn't come out on top this time.

It happens all the time, except most personalities aren't as big as Rossi's. Most exchamps are alowed to fade away like KRJR or go to another serise. Rossi only has one good option and a few not so good.

The GP12 may get slightly better by midseason but I can't see any whole sale improvents to where it will match the Honda or Yamaha. It will always be that part of a second behind. Great for Hayden. Too bad for Val. Like Ali, who stayed too long in the game, Rossi needs to leave after his next high point (wet race win, podium, what ever) call it good and pull out. Leave SBK alone. Nothing to prove, Sit out a year and then return. All the bad days will likely be forgot about.

It's all quite tiresome at this point. At least to me. Rossi blames everyone but himself. Not that he himself should alone carry the blame. But it's ... unflattering when someone behaves the way he does. Or is apparently behaving (I do not understand Italian).

Perhaps it bears repeating: if Abraham had not retired, and had he finished before Rossi, which cannot be ruled out by any means, then that would have meant that everyone else on a Ducati in the Qatar race would have finished before Rossi.

So how can it be just the bike?

Really good article and links, thanks again to this site, THE place to get intelligent discussion.

My word isn't this a knotty one for Rossi , Ducati and Dorna!

I'd be very surprised if there are serious improvements forthcoming to this bike, and the point made; 'why ride at 110% and risk your life for a possible 6th at best when you're used to winning' is a fair one. Especially when you've done it all and you're well over 30. Also there is the ghastly spectre that this sport kills; Rossi had a dreadful personal reminder of that last year.

I just want to see better racing, and it was great that Qatar had 3 bikes close together (at least for a while) 3 laps from the end, and I hope the 1000 era produces more of the same. But I still miss VR being in the mix at or near the front, because he's bloody great to watch when he's going for it!

But he's human after all (shocking innit?); and clearly hated having the young and talented Jorge tweaking his nose at Yamaha, and latterly the very talented Stoner proving he could ride a bike that VR can't. As Burgess said months ago 'he's [Rossi’s] not prepared to ride in the envelope Stoner did'.

And frankly when you've had a career like his already, I can't blame him.

It's hard to know when to leave the stage, and VR clearly isn't suddenly a mid-pack talent, and on an M1 or a Honda, I expect (but nobody knows) he still would be at or near the front, but I fear, it may be time to go, as the options are limited.

• WSBK? Wouldn't that be great, but he'd see it as a demotion, so I doubt it.
• Suzuki? Can't see him wanting to put his ‘bum in the water’ again developing yet another 'risky' bike, to probably fail.
• His own team leasing a bike? Of the three, maybe, as others have pointed out, Dorna would certainly love him to have his own team as a legacy.

Dorna have a problem though; talented and brilliant as Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa are; they do not have VR's cheeky-chappie saleability. We might not be impressed with it here, because we focus on the racing & machinery, but ultimately this is entertainment, and it's about bums-on-seats, sponsorship & TV coverage.

I looked around at Silverstone last year, I couldn't find one stand selling Stoner merchandise (was I mistaken?), and there was a small stand selling Lorenzo kit. VR is one of those rare sportsmen (Ali was mentioned earlier) who has become an A-list celeb. Many of my non-biker friends have heard of Rossi; none of them have heard of Stoner, Lorenzo, or even Agostini & Roberts,. You can't buy celebrity like that just through winning championships, you have to have something else, and Rossi’s got it, probably much to the understandable irritation of his now more successful rivals, who won't ever make the same amount of dosh put togther.

In the meantime, how does VR deal psychologically with being bumped out by the likes of Hector Barbera for the rest of the season?

I think he'll keep plugging away because he wouldn't want to look like quitter, but I fear it may be time to leave the stage at the end of the season, not become like Ali, and go on for far too long!

Very well put swiftnick,

But he will not retire after this season......

It'll be MotoGP or WSBK next season, but he won't quit. He's 33 not 43!

He needs to take a year off, go to the beach, hang out with the girls(or Uccio) enjoy life for a while and forget all about bike racing, because he's trying a bit too hard.It seems clear to me fatigue has set in and you can't overcome fatigue by working harder. The fact that some pimpled faced kids are beating him with an allegedly inferior version of his bike, tells me his problems are more ..uh...*software related* than a bad bike, I truly believe the Simonceli incident dented his riding pretty bad, and I'm using my own example:after just witnessing a buddy of mine killed in the track I lost my pace for almost a year, I simply had an invisible "hard limit" in my throttle hand...

Rossi has a job to do for his team, fans, and everybody in-between including himself! Even if the GP12 was competitive, Rossi will need a lot of help at the front. Stoner, Jorge, and Dani are not getting any slower or less determined to be World Champion. Rossi will still need to figure out how to beat CS, JL, and DP if he can get past Spies, Dovi, and Cal. Hayden may be battling for a podium before Rossi does this season. Everybody knows the GP12 has issues but the constant finger-pointing at the bike whether it's the engine, electronics, and/or front tire is getting old! Rossi should follow Fernando Alonso's example in Formula-1... just do your job, giving it 110%. The situation at Ducati is stressful enough for everyone involved down to the factory workers. As a Rossi-fan, Vale should get his fire rekindled and twist the throttle. Instead of changing the bike even more, VR needs to ride the bike the way it needs to be ridden even if it means changing his style.

It has just been announced that Nicky Hayden will be testing the Ducati for two days this week in Mugello, travelling over 3000 miles from his home in Kentucky to further develop this year's Ducati. Where is Valentino who lives an hour or so's drive from Mugello and is claiming that he will do whatever he can to get himself and the bike competitive?

Hayden is testing this weekend because he missed earlier test sessions due to injury. Rossi is free to join in to also test, and so far no-one - other than yourself - has suggested that he won't be doing that. Do you know something that we don't?