Valentino Rossi Spotted At Yamaha's European HQ: The Deal Is Done - AMENDED AND CORRECTED

It appears that the story below, on Valentino Rossi having been spotted at Yamaha Motor Europe's headquarters in Amsterdam, was based on incorrect information, and was false. The story came from a hacked Twitter account, connected to a compromised Gmail account. Please see the retraction we have published elsewhere for full details.

The original story as we first published it appears below:

Valentino Rossi is set to make a return to Yamaha, abandoning Ducati after two long and difficult years of failure. The Italian was spotted at Yamaha Motor Europe's headquarters at Schiphol-Rijk, an industrial estate next to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, by former racer Niall Mackenzie, who was visiting the Yamaha HQ while negotiating a deal for his younger son Tarran to race in Superstock next season. The Scotsman posted the sighting - naming only a 'well-known Italian' wearing 'a big smile on his face' - on his Twitter page, but when contacted by Thomas Baujard of the French magazine Moto Journal, confirmed his report to the magazine.

The news of Rossi's return to Yamaha has been slowly leaking out since last Sunday's Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Speculative reports have appeared in leading English and Italian media, with Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Rossi has been offered a two-year deal with Yamaha in MotoGP, with the option of making a switch to World Superbikes, to lead the development of the all-new Yamaha YZF-R1 which is expected for 2015. Yamaha pulled out of the World Superbike series at the end of the 2010 season, citing the global financial crisis and failing to achieve their marketing goals with the production-based series.

Rossi's defection and return is far from surprising: the dream matchup of Italian superstar Rossi with the legendary and iconic Ducati brand had raised expectation all around the world, but it had been a disaster from the moment Rossi swung a leg over the bike at Valencia in 2010. Rossi was shocked to find that the machine that Casey Stoner had taken to victory in three of the last six races of 2010 was a very long way from competitive, the results coming from Stoner's mercurial talent rather than by virtue of the Desmosedici. Since then, though much has changed superficially, there has been very slow and very limited progress on the Desmosedici, despite a range of updates coming from Borgo Panigale. Though frames have been modified and the engine layout rotated backwards, the fundamental flaws of the bike remain: The machine lacks front end feel, has a tendency to understeer, and the power delivery is far too aggressive. All of the feedback that both Rossi and his crew chief Jerry Burgess has provided to Ducati Corse has failed to result in any clear improvement. In essence, Rossi has run into the same problem that caused Stoner to leave the Italian factory: feedback was ignored and developments came at a glacial pace.

Rossi's departure from Ducati will come as a blow for the Bologna factory. Just yesterday, Ducati team boss Vittoriano Guareschi had told the Gazzetta that the factory did not have a 'plan B' for a Rossi departure. Ducati is said to have offered 17 million euros to Rossi, something that the Italian hotly denied at Laguna Seca. More importantly, Rossi has had several meetings with very senior Audi executives aimed at reassuring Rossi that Audi has both the means and the intention of investing heavily in Ducati's MotoGP program. In the end, Rossi could not afford to wait: the effects of the Audi takeover will not start to bear fruit for at least a year or so, and with Rossi entering the last few years of his career, he needs results faster than that. Rossi is tired of riding round knowing that the best he could hope for is 6th place, and a return to the competitive Yamaha M1 gives him a chance at battling for podiums and wins every race.

With Rossi's seat vacant at Ducati, speculation will now focus on who will take his place there. Cal Crutchlow has an offer of a two-year contract from the Bologna factory, but the British rider was being penciled in as a possible for Nicky Hayden, who was re-signed for another year at Ducati at Laguna Seca. Crutchlow's Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso has also been approached, though the Italian has previously been very wary of signing for Ducati, his mind already made up by the plight of Marco Melandri, and reinforced by that of Valentino Rossi. While another option would be to sign a fast young rider, with Scott Redding, Andrea Iannone and Pol Espargaro all featuring highly on Ducati's radar.

The wait now is for official confirmation from either the Yamaha or Ducati camps. Given the fiasco over Ben Spies' announcement ahead of Laguna Seca that he will be leaving Yamaha at the end of the season, Yamaha will be keen to announce some good news as soon as possible. Ducati, on the other hand, will want to wait for as long as they can before making an announcement. Rossi himself had said he expected to make a decision ahead of Indianapolis, with an announcement at Brno. It is extremely unlikely that any of the three parties involved can hold off on making an announcement for that long.

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Though after Laguna it seemed more likely than ever, it's still a shock. The dream is over. Anxious to see how he will fare next year. Sparks will fly between Lorenzo and Rossi.

might as well take the rest of the year off because it seems he's checked out on Ducati already. Spies seems to need to clear his head so Maybe he should join him on a half season sabbatical as well. I can't see either going all out for the rest of the year knowing they are leaving their team. Neither probably will get any significant updates anymore anyway with the team knowing they are going out the door.

Im more interested in seeing what he can do in WSBK in 2015 :)

If this is true, it would seem that his addiction to the drug of winning is stronger than his desire to go down in history through winning with 3 different manufacturers.

That's fine by me. I don't care what bike he is on, as long as he is competitive again.

... one wet race on the Cagiva (I assume that's were the above confusion comes from).

That didn't take long. Maybe he can win a few races and go out with some dignity. I doubt it, maybe on an off-day for Lorenzo.

I'm more interested in who Ducati will choose now. Crutchlow? Dovi? Bradl?

re: "I'm more interested in who Ducati will choose now. Crutchlow? Dovi? Bradl?"

i'm more interested if the answer is D. none of the above...? no more rossi should trigger a rethink on whether or not they should even continue dumping money into grandprix. if it weren't before, it should be more than obvious now the series is collapsing in on itself.

I stand corrected. I thought for sure... Ducati. What is he going to do next year that he couldn't do back in 2010? Bad move...

Maybe, with a little bit of luck, he can avoid the shoulder injury and broken leg.

You mean the same 2010 where he injured his shoulder in the beginning of the season, then broke his leg and missed 3 races for the first DNS of his entire career? And then came back on crutches in 4 weeks barely walking? Yeah, you're right, just like 2010 next year.

EDIT: Dammit, Lew! You beat me to it!

I admit I forgot about those things, but at the time I remember thinking, the leg injury was due to "having to try to hard" to keep up (and his early return, another sign of a desperate ego)... Lorenzo is 2 years deeper toward his prime, Val is another 2 years removed from his. Still believe he will have nothing to show Lorenzo that he hasn't already...

I'd be lying if i said that wasn't a concern...definitely a possibility. Not to mention the fact that Lorenzo has had a one year had start on the new 1000,,cc m1

I thought the leg injury was a cold tire incident that resulted from him backing off his pace for a few turns to create some space for a race pace lap.

Looks like Dovi maybe screwed by Ducati whether he's offered a ride there or not.

Despite Dovi's excellent string of performance this year, Ducati wasn't competitive enough to keep Rossi from taking Ben's open seat at Yamaha. The alternative that Dovi go to Ducati and take Rossi's place struggling to get anywhere near the front. That has to be a very daunting prospect to consider in terms of him ever capturing a MotoGP championship.

Sad but simple truth is there are simply not enough worthy seats for the amount of talent in MotoGP.

... some dreams are just too good to be true (Ducati+Rossi). But the nightmares never fail!

Now if someone could just win a race on a Duc next year... that would be sweet.

In an interview with Lin Jarvis in MCN this week, he basically (well, actually) said that should Rossi return, their main focus would be on Jorge in 2013 and they would do everything in there power to ensure Jorge won the title in 2013. It left an uneasy feeling. I read it as if Rossi gets too close to Jorge, we'll make sure he doesn't for long!

Lots of mixed feelings about Rossi going back to Yamaha, but one thing is absolutely sure... The viewing figures and interest will rocket up!

Ducati must be really pissed off. Some will say they should be, some will say they should be pleased, but that's the sort of reaction Rossi has always provoked.

Well this type of argument will surely be brought up again if Rossi does not perform well on the Yamaha next year. And WSBK thereafter could be somewhat interesting seeing that it is the prermier series for has beens (Checa, Biaggi etc.).

I would hardly call Marco Melandri and (likely next year) Ben Spies has-beens. Just a different series, and in some cases a "feeder" series like Moto2/250 (in the case on colin edwards, ben spies, cal crutchlow, James toseland, troy bayliss, etc.)

When moto2 feeds stara to motogp, its a feeder series. But if Toni elias goes back down, then ita a has-been series? Like someone said, just not enough seats for the number of talented riders. One bad year and you're out.

Well don't get me (too) wrong. I like watching WSBK but the fact is that as a feeder series they have not produced any MotoGP World Champions (that I can remember). Although almost all of the best in WSBK have tried and failed, certainly all that you mentioned.

Anyway I agree that the number of good seats in MotoGP is way to few (only 4). More competitive manufacturers are badly needed. With Rossi leaving Ducati now looks extremely shaky, I hope they can stay somewhat competitive and find a driver that can make use of their bike for next year.

You understate the facts David. Doohan raced as a wildcard in the Australian round of WSBK on, quite topically, a Yamaha sponsored by Malboro.

He won both races by a huge margins. I know, I was there.

I think what Jarvis said in that interview is only one side of the story. I think it's safe to say that Rossi will bring the new main sponsor to the Yam factory team. And we all know that in nowadays MotoGP, money does have the final say. At least very often it does. So whoever that sponsor will be, whether it'll be Coke or I dunno who, they won't be very interested in seeing Rossi not being able to fight for the win. I think they expect nothing less than the 2010 season reloaded.

I myself really can't say if Rossi lost it during the last two years. After all, the Yam really fits his style. I'm not expecting him to be able to compete for the title next season just like that. But I do think that he would be able to be up there with Jorge and Dani again. Well, and then there's Marquez, who is sort of the unknown variable in that equation.

True fans will remember him as a legend that couldn't tame the Ducati even though heavy sums were thrown at him to be competitive. Some will blame Ducati and others will blame him but at the end of the day, he's still a world champion. I for one miss him at the pointy end and in a way feel bad for him that he doesn't have a competitive ride under him, although no one is to blame except himself.

Crutchlow would be fine. Iannone I'd prefer, but Doviziso.........NEVER. Had a factory Honda and did squat with it and his time is up. He's toast.

And I like Ducatis new approach to the satallite teams which fits right in with Iannone going to Ducati instead of Doviziso. Redding is also VERY welcome. Considering his size and what's he's doing in Moto2, that rinky dink almost spec series, I think he'd do just fine.

His record at HRC, while not ground breaking, is not exactly poor either:

2011 - 3rd overall, 15 Top 5, 7 podiums, 1 DNF
2010 - 5th overall, 13 Top 5, 7 podiums, 3 DNF
2009 - 6th overall, 5 Top 5 , 1 podium, 1 win, 4 DNFs

So far this season at Tech III:
2012 - 4th overall, 8 Top 5, 4 podiums

I believe in giving credit where it is due.

So far this year he has finished within the top 5 80% of the time on a good but non-factory bike. The remaining 20% represent two mistakes while running at or close to podium position.

Clearly he would be a candidate for a factory ride (somewhere) if his performance was the only consideration.

re: "Who to Ducati"

no one.

(curator voice) right this way folks, the factory is debuting some new static displays from their time spent in grandprix. the carbon bike, the hybrid bike, and the ally bike. tidy up, museum closes in an hour.

re: "The Scotsman posted the sighting - naming only a 'well-known Italian' wearing 'a big smile on his face"

wait, biaggi's returning to yamaha grandprix...? :)

He finished 6th, 5th and 3rd on the Honda behind Casey and Dani and is currently 4th in points with 4 podiums. Hardly squat. Cal isn't a good fit, at least his mouth isn't. Iannone is possible but Dovi has earned a factory ride.

I really think Ben got the boot a couple of weeks ago and Yamaha let him 'quit' to save some face. His string of bad luck is unbelievable with a broken swingarm now to blame at Laguna. Well he hasn't run out of gas while leading yet. He deserves better results.

re: "His string of bad luck is unbelievable with a broken swingarm now to blame at Laguna."

which is but the latest clue in a long list of clues that this ISN'T "bad luck".

It's sad to see the match made in heaven (or not) end this way, but we can't blame anyone but Ducati. They're the one's needing to interpret rider's feedback, develop and build machinery that improves on the previous version's performance. Let's be honest, Ducati hasn't been able to do that, and what they have done is a mere fraction of what their rivals can and will do if necessary (all new Honda RCV mid-season anyone?). I think Rossi and his team did everything they could, why doubt that? Rossi knows what he needs to ride fast and Burgess knows how to listen to Rossi and turn his words into mechanical changes. Ducati either didn't understand or opted not to listen.

It's not 2007 folks. Ducati doesn't have a massive top speed advantage or tires from planet X, the playing field is vastly more level nowadays and Ducati is the most ignorant in the paddock by a generous (or is that pitiful?) margin.

Ducati also doesn't have Stoner, the major factor (by far) in their 2007 championship. They still have the fastest bike in a straight line by the way.

Stoner was a huge part of Ducati's miracle year, but without an exclusive tire advantage and positively HUGE top speed advantage it's very unlikely he would've enjoyed the dominating success that he did. Ducati has none of those elements working in their favor now, and even with Stoner in the saddle in 2012 it's highly unlikely they'd be looking much (if any) better. Anyone recall Stoner crashing out of 5 GP's during his last year with Ducati? I do, and it's down to machinery woefully inadequate compared to Honda/Yamaha... just like now.

re: "Ducati also doesn't have Stoner, the major factor (by far) in their 2007 championship."

the other being, the japanese all brought "knives to the gunfight" hoping to de-escalate the arms race of the 990 era. only, somebody forgot to copy bologna on the email and it ended up getting reignited.

While the dream pairing of Rossi and Ducati didn't work out, it's not really fair to blame either side, as much as recognize it wasn't working for either party. Ducati may not have delivered a bike that Rossi could be competitive on, but they did pull out all the stops while attempting to.

In the end it didn't work because the Ducati needs too much work to be competitive, and Rossi doesn't have enough time left. Ducati needed to hire a rider like Rossi when other riders could get the bike on the podium, but not win everything. It's just not realistic to expect them to improve that much in such a short period of time, they need to step back, acknowledge their problems and work on slowly and consistently catching Yamaha and Honda.

re: "It's just not realistic to expect them to improve that much in such a short period of time, they need to step back, acknowledge their problems and work on slowly and consistently catching Yamaha and Honda."

or just step back, mothballing the lot.

WSBK, a bumpercrop of 1199 sales, and the core business of manufacturing (ie. what audi bought them for) are all calling... brrrring...!!! brrring...!!! observe that none of the japanese GIANTS have a presence in both series.

We have to remember that he moved not due to him not being competitive on a Yamaha but due to Yamaha refusing to give Rossi advantage over Lorenzo. In other words PURE EGO. As some say, he was forced to eat a big chunk of humble pie.

Isn't weird that a past Italian legend doesn't rate him that high, even though he has records to prove, Ago anyone?

What I personally have noticed in the past two years is that the quote that Burgess made famous, 80% rider 20% bike, did not apply to Rossi in Ducati. It did apply however for Stoner, hence we saw him win last year championship on a nearly perfect scenario, only missing one podium the whole season (not his fault). IMHO its more 50% bike and 50% rider, a good balance.

I cant wait to read read Rossi's next book and Stoners and anyone else who was involved with the disaster that is ducati.

What company hires two of the top three riders in the world Rossi & Stoner and then doesn't listen to them? Answer is Ducati.

Q: "What company hires two of the top three riders in the world Rossi & Stoner and then doesn't listen to them? "

A: investindustrial.

stoner was prolly the only legitimate hire by borgo panigale.

No room for recriminations, finger pointing or associated hysterics. Rossi really needs to be back on the ultimate incarnation of the UJM. It's where he has done best. Ducati, on the other hand needs to get back to it's happy place, i.e. underdog. Ducati can not compete regularly with the vast resources of the Japanese, and they certainly do not need to convert their iconic motorcycle into
a copy of the Yamaha. Let's hope that Audi does not try to turn Ducati into another clone bike.

Best of luck to Rossi. If he is significantly faster on a Yamaha, perhaps we can have a little more racing at the front. Let's also hope that Yamaha has the good sense to built two equal motorcycles for these guys. It could be fun unless the little Italian guy can't keep up any more. In that case we can all look forward to interminable demands for a better bike. We'll see.

Ducati can not compete regularly with the vast resources of the Japanese, and they certainly do not need to convert their iconic motorcycle into a copy of the Yamaha. Let's hope that Audi does not try to turn Ducati into another clone bike.

If they want their "iconic motorcycle" to win any MotoGP races with spec Bridgestone tires then they really do need to clone the Yamaha. If they keep going their own direction they will continue to fall behind.

re: "Ducati, on the other hand needs to get back to it's happy place, i.e. underdog."

i.e. F-I-M W-O-R-L-D S-U-P-E-R-B-I-K-E...!!!

re: "Ducati can not compete regularly with the vast resources of the Japanese"

ironic innit, those vast resources don't see any of THEM trying to maintain a presence in 2 championships...?

re: "Let's hope that Audi does not try to turn Ducati into another clone bike."

no worries, Audi bought ducati to be "DUCATI". altering this does not help them with the end game (car side) of stealing market share from BMW.

Let me get this straight - he can't get any results on the superior Yamaha and you expect him to tame the Duc somehow - keep on dreaming

I was just going to say the same. We're stuck in the dynamic it's either the bike or the rider. I don't think life is that simple. We may just be surprised with the man who jumps on the Ducati next. I don't think it is easy to work in an Italian team but when it works it is magic. It'll take a Schumacher/Senna type to bend them. Reading between the lines Rossi expected Ducati to convert to his ideas. Yes he doesn't have much time but I see Audi flexing some technical muscle. Piech, a motorcycle nut will make sure they are well financed and have access to technology.

Does nobody think this seems a little bit suspect? Why didn't Mackenzie just go ahead and use Rossi's actual name? He even refrained from using it in the email.

Who is to say he isn't actually referring to Dovi...?

I believe several journalists have spoken to Mackenzie over the phone, so it would have come up then.

Somebody behind the scenes are "making sure" Ben left Factory Yamaha so #46 can come back for a last hurrah on decent equipment. Conspiracy? Ben has had some odd and bad luck this whole season. We need a race by race re-cap of Ben's season starting with the last winter break.

If Mr. Stoner all of sudden gets an offer of Italian humility (if there is such a thing), unquestionable and bottomless technical support, the old "anything you want Casey, just give us your talent and get us another trophy"
I don't think he would even consider, however, being the fan that I am, one can dream right?

No, there is no need to interrupt Stoner's fishing!

Hayden is fully capable of podiums if Ducati ever manage to give him a decent bike. Nicky has stuck with them for how many years? If anyone deserves to benefit from an Audi sponsored turnaround, it's him.

You know what? Have always loved Ben Spies. As a Brit, I was amazed at his performance in WSB and so cheered for him in MotoGP (us Brits love the underdog, no matter what).

Boring character but a very fast and clever racer. I was equally amazed at his performance this year. Was it down to him? Was it down to Yamaha giving their attention to their new golden boy in Lorenzo? Conspiracy? nah. I think he just saw MotoGP for what it is and got bored with it.

Not sure, but am glad Ben is (as reported) going back to WSB, not because he has "failed", but because (like Stoner) the politics became too much for him. He just wants to race.

Wish #46, #26, #4 and especially #5 and #69 would go back there too. MotoGP would die instantly and WSB would give us the most exciting racing. Isn't that what we want?

Suzuki has been also spotted testing a Moto GP bike or what appears to be one. And who does Roosi hold in high regards? Kevin Schwantz. Makes ya think?

Suzuki does indeed have a 2014 scheduled return to MotoGP. Schwantz has Suzuki blood in his veins and Tommy Hayden won many many races for them. Nicky has a 1 year contract with Ducati. Connect the dots.

Suzuki does indeed have a 2014 scheduled return to MotoGP. Schwantz has Suzuki blood in his veins and Tommy Hayden won many many races for them. Nicky has a 1 year contract with Ducati. Connect the dots.

re: "Suzuki has been also spotted testing a Moto GP bike or what appears to be one. And who does Roosi hold in high regards? Kevin Schwantz. Makes ya think?"

yeah, about how suzuki just spent a DOZEN years contributing to the downfall of grandprix with a half-ass effort.

How long will VAG keep Ducati in Motogp when it runs dead last in the series.

There is no more Casey Stoner. Reality is Duati to run last for the quite a few seasons.

re: "How long will VAG keep Ducati in Motogp when it runs dead last in the series. There is no more Casey Stoner..."

and no more biaggi, no more checa, no more melandri, no more simoncelli, no more capirossi, and NOW... no more spies.

Ducati is quietly thrilled to lose Rossi. Now they don't have to "keep" modifying THEIR design (that they don't seem interested in changing) and look like the bad guys anymore. Also, they now don't have to worry about Audi execs defending Rossi and making them do things HIS way.
Ducati will sign Crutchlow who will try and manhandle the slightly modified 2013 Duc around the track. Hayden gets a contract extension and they get an experienced rider to help with development-- they also look good for keeping a popular crowd favorite.
After two years of fighting a losing battle on the Duc, Rossi will be hungrier than ever to get back on the podium with the Yamaha and battle Jorge (which will make an interesting season IMO).
Dovi will stay with Tech 3 and get more direct improvements from the Yamaha factory. Dani will continue to get mostly 3rd finishes.

mmmexico said it: "...Ducati, on the other hand needs to get back to it's happy place, i.e. underdog."

IMO anyone’s Happy Place is where they are truly being themselves.

Ducati’s legend is built on being the exotic underdog: gorgeous but old-fashioned, sweet-handling but underpowered, fragile and expensive. A "proper" Ducati wins by making up enough around the corners to avoid getting blitzed on the straights.

When Ducati doubled up their V2/L2 engine format and later even dropped the sacred trellis frame, the end was presumed to justify the means. The UJM-ish V4 is Top Speed King, so their gamble paid off in part, but judging by front-end wipe-outs and results (Stoner notwithstanding) it would appear that they threw the baby out with the bathwater.

Dream scenario:

Ducati put the Desmosedici project on E-Bay. They tune Checa’s Superbike to within an inch of the rules and enter it as a CRT, a la ART RSV4. Riders? Hayden and Spies in one team, Edwards and Crutchlow in another, Redding and Iannone form the rookie squad, all on identical bikes.

PS Pity that Rossi and Burgess could not get the Duke to fly. Hope the whole team goes back to Yamaha and Rossi wins one last title (2014?) before retiring to Superbikes.

re: "Dream scenario: Ducati put the Desmosedici project on E-Bay."

Dream scenario: Audi puts the V4 on on the SHELF, with all the bikes from the past 2 seasons in the museum.

re: "They tune Checa’s Superbike to within an inch of the rules and enter it as a CRT, a la ART RSV4."

then they piss on dorna's collapsing business model and take 1199's (bristling with technology gleaned from 20 years of SBK and 10 years of GP's) and just return with a factory team (ala xerox) to WSBK...? did i mention the flamminis have beaten dorna to Russia, Indonesia, and now India...?

(click, click) THAT WAS EASY...!!!

The better scenario for ducati is ring casey and beg him to test the gp12 and gp13 after valencia race just like what rdp did in suzuki. I expect harsh words from ducati when rossi turn around to them and jump to yamaha. I would like to know what casey's feedback in ducati and besides he's not contracted to hrc or any team. Gone fishing for one year then go back in 2014 with ducati or factory honda wsbk with john rea.

Back on the Yamaha, I can see Rossi getting so desperate for a win that he skittles Lorenzo like he did to Stoner last year.

Dovi wants nothing to do with that seat. Frankly, I hope Cal doesn't take it..., I like him too much. Bring up Iannone, Redding and perhaps Espargaro, (if he's willing), and get serious about fixing the bike. In 5 years, one rider has been able to mask it's flaws, (much of the time). After two years hard time..., VR deserves a competitive bike more than ever. As do we fans of the show....

It's cool to read a lot of positive posts here even the negative ones. lol.

I like the realistic criticism people make of Ducati. I think that the only way forward for Ducati is if everyone stops believing the lies and supporting the excuses that Ducati make about the bike not being the problem.

Once this happens maybe Ducati will they get off their bums and rebuild. You never know though Ducati have been pretty resilient to change.

'Ducati have been pretty resilient to change.' bearforce1

Don't want to be a smart arse, but possibly you meant 'Ducati have been pretty resistant to change?'

What bothers me about this story is that I cannot imagine Rossi disclosing his decision exclusively to Niall Mackenzie. WTF? I wonder if there is some misunderstanding or something. I'm not trying to say Rossi will stay at Ducati, but I just wonder if this "confirmation" is somehow premature.

I think I prefer the Rossi/Yamaha decision over the Rossi/Ducati alternative (despite the Ducati 999-S in my garage), but I'll be more comfortable once I hear an official confirmation.

The future comments from Rossi and Co. won't be that they weren't able to change the Duc, but that they literally were not allowed to do what they thought was necessary to make a significant change in the machine's performance. It's not like Rossi doesn't know what needs to be fixed on the GP13 (hell, most average fans know what needs to be fixed), but rather it is the simple fact that Bologna is either unable to (inexcusable at this level) or unwilling to change course with the design of their machine.

If there is one thing Ducati need to do, it's admit that they have been trying to perfect a flawed design from the word go. The GP6-13 have been bikes with a few strong points (mainly power, straight line speed, and acceleration) but in the end the bad points outweigh the good ones. This is the highest level of Grand Prix racing, and nothing but 99% sorted bike will do when it comes to generating consistent results. The final 1% is what competing at the highest level is all about. The Ducati is at roughly 95%, which while still dead in the middle of the ballpark, is a long way off where they should be.

Pride be damned, Rossi is a racer who wants to WIN. Being competitive is first and foremost his priority, not silly national pride. It was a cool idea, the Italian legend on an Italian legend, but it's pretty obvious it didn't work. No harm in saying we tried, but it didn't work out. Sometimes, that's life...

What I find hard to understand is that whilst much change was promised, little seemingly saw the light of day. The situation preceding Laguna Seca being a case in point - weren't major engine changes promised, yet what arose was a single ECU which failed (why on earth didn't they have a spare?).

I thought one of the advantages of being a small organisation in the field of competition is that it is more easy to be nimble, to be able to adapt to changing situations, and be able to react more quickly when the need for change is evident...

How has the situation at Ducati arisen? Is it a matter of culture (e.g. engineering elitism), is it laziness, is it genuine incompetence?

For the life of me, I don't understand how a company which espouses to have racing in its blood can persist with a design concept that has created difficulties for every rider (even Stoner), and has caused a career downturn for pretty much every rider bar one.

This is a plan for success?

I just don't get it....

re: "How has the situation at Ducati arisen? Is it a matter of culture (e.g. engineering elitism), is it laziness, is it genuine incompetence?"

nope, just a question of who's paying...? and is there a future to what we're doing...? when you're company is in the middle of being bought out and all your debt is being assumed.

Damn i am so happy that Rossi is finally on a bike that suits him.I have been reading the comments that people have made about this story.

Firstly,, the notion that rossi "turns poor bikes into race winners" is nothing but a assumption made after seeing , most notably, Yamaha turn into a race winner in his hands.A racer of Rossi's calibre has never endorsed that.Its the fans who have made this assumption.His feedback is no different than any other rider.

The fact that Stoner walked away disgruntled and now Rossi is moving way shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with the bike.It also proves the superhuman capabilities of stoner who tamed the ducati (no doubt helped by the tyres in 2007).His victories on the duc in later seasons also give testimony to that.The factory is to blame of not heeding to the advice of two world champions and still continues to follow the same old philosophy in MotoGp which once brought them success.

Burgess and company (or any pit crew) are only effective if the demands/changes asked by the rider are looked properly into by the factory.Here ducati are thinking of introducing the an engine management system to tame power delivery, which is something which big factories do every few races.While Honda brought the 2012 RCV to last test.

If people are criticizing rossi's performance on ducati, why is nobody talking about what Hayden has achieved on the same bike in the past few years.No, because he is a charming guy, talks less, performs more, good PR, good for ducati sales in the states et..i think Hayden has resigned himself to the fate that in order to stay in Motogp he has to race whatever ducati provide, otherwise he will be potentially replaced.

No2 rider or not Rossi is still hungry for wins and Lorenzo is going to get his task cut out 2013 onwards.However if Yamaha are so stupid as to only cater to Lorenzos needs and give him full factory support and leave Rossi away from top kit then Motogp will be in danger of losing its position of pinnacle of motorcycle racing.They risk being labelled as cheats and hungry for rossi's marketing dollars.

re: "Motogp will be in danger of losing its position of pinnacle of motorcycle racing.They risk being labelled as cheats and hungry for rossi's marketing dollars."

too late.

1. Congrats to VR, I thought Honda would have been a better choice for him because Yamaha has already Lorenzo and with Stoner gone they seem to have the championships in the bag in the following 1-2 seasons. Wondering what they were thinking at HRC?! Hate to say it but if this is true, it was the necessary move, it will bring some real excitement for 2013, Lorenzo hopefully will be pushed. If not Rossi is the one who lost his edge after the Simoncelli-incident because I think he did in some ways...but either way, on the Yammie there is more chance to get his mojo back.
2. So I would not like to back up the conspiracy theorists but only 1-2 weeks after Spies announced his quitting and the VR46-contract is a done deal. It is hard to imagine for me. I mean I would not be surprised if Spies and his fans would have felt for a while that his place is already sold and Dorna is pushing Yamaha to take VR46 back (after last season they for sure considered this option more). So his latest unfortunate results are maybe not only because Spies forgot how to ride fast on the best factory bike (while he seemed very good on the 800 cc version and even he was convinced that the bigger capacity will fit him better) or he lacked focus recently but because -if it would be necessary - his leaving must look well reasoned. Not talking about the cracked subframe or swingarm of course, those were coincidances, but with the setup I suppose there are many ways to control someone nowadays. MotoGP is a huge (dying) business after all and businessmen do such political moves in order to protect their best interests, don't they?
3. I hope Ducati is trying to reach Ben Spies because from this field I think he is one who could get some results on the Duke. I remember him storming through WSBK on that fire-breathing R1, that was not the best handling bike out there. Not to mention that Spies has much experience on the Yam, that could be valuable. Dovi would not go well on the Duke, his refined GP-style (similar to Rossi) is not what Ducatis need. That beast must be taken by its horns into the corner (elbows out :) ) then twist that throttle and praying for dear life on the exit. Not that I would not be very happy after all about Spies' coming back to WSBK, that series is closer to my heart but still...if nothing is signed yet with BMW, Ben should get a taste of the GP12, somewhere behind closed doors.

The whole story is fake it appears... Well it did create some fun speculation, again.

Stoner/Ducati were good enough to win 1 title. While the combination was able to reach alien status, they were also inconsistent. Maybe Stoner knew he would never win another title there. Race wins weren't enough. If Rossi leaves I see it as unfortunate, but not his failure. Everyone has the same compliment and it's still not fixed.

Well, Ducati was very slow a providing updates that Rossi and JB requested..Now that Audi is in the picture, maybe some thing might get done..Rossi has already stated that money was not the factor.

Should this be a test to see what Yamaha will offer him, when he brings this sponsorship money to the table and become the title sponsor, like someone said above, it will be a true testament to how good JL really is and Rossi to jump back on a bike that he developed and passed onto JL. the challenge to sort the Duck out could also be alluring, that if Rossi get's what he needs and put"s the Duck on the right path " oh boy " would that be the talk of the season and years to come....we will know after the break what he is going to do.....that's for sure