After winning three premier class MotoGP world titles with Honda and four with Yamaha, The Doctor is now moving on to Ducati. Can he pull off the unthinkable and win yet another world title with them...?
‘It is very difficult to explain in just a few words what my relationship with Yamaha has been in these past seven years. Many things have changed since that far-off time in 2004, but especially ‘she,' my M1, has changed. At that time she was a poor middle-grid position MotoGP bike, derided by most of the riders and the MotoGP workers. Now, after having helped her to grow and improve, you can see her smiling in her garage, courted and admired, treated as the ‘top of the class,' says Valentino.
‘The list of the people that made this transformation possible is very long, but I would like to thank Masao Furusawa, Masahiko Nakajima and ‘my' Hiroya Atsumi, as representatives of all the engineers that worked hard to change the face of our M1. Then Jeremy Burgess and all my guys in the garage, who took care of her with love on all the tracks of the world and also all the men and women that have worked in the Yamaha team during these years,’ he adds.
‘Now the moment has come to look for new challenges; my work here at Yamaha is finished. Unfortunately even the most beautiful love stories finish, but they leave a lot of wonderful memories, like when my M1 and I kissed for the first time on the grass at Welkom, when she looked straight in my eyes and told me ‘I love you!' says the man who won four premier class world titles in MotoGP, with Yamaha.
‘Valentino joined Yamaha in 2004 at a moment when Yamaha was struggling in road racing after eleven seasons without a championship victory. His victory at his first GP race for Yamaha in South Africa in 2004 was an incredible moment and was just the first of many more race wins that have thrilled MotoGP fans and Yamaha fans around the world. His unsurpassed skills as a racer and a development rider enabled him to win four MotoGP world titles to date with us and helped Yamaha develop the YZR-M1 into the ‘the bike of reference' for the MotoGP class,’ says Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. ‘Whilst we regret Vale's decision to move on, at the same time we fully respect his decision to search for a new challenge and we wish him the very best for 2011 and beyond,’ he adds.
‘For the remaining eight races of 2010 Valentino will remain a Yamaha Factory rider. As such he will continue to benefit from our full support and we hope and expect to see some more race wins with him ‘in blue' before the season is over!’ says Jarvis.
With that, it's the end of the Valentino Rossi-Yamaha love story. And the beginning of a new "love story" between The Doctor and Ducati. ‘We are delighted to announce that Valentino Rossi will be with us from 2011. He is a paragon of excellence in the world of motorcycling, coherent with our Italian company which is a standard-bearer for ‘made in Italy’ excellence,’ says Gabriele Del Torchio, President - Ducati Motor Holding.
‘Valentino is a great fan of motorcycles and so it has always been a pleasure for me to listen to his opinions. Until the Valencia GP he will remain a competitor, one so great that he has always given a special value to our victories, but as soon as he rides the Ducati for the first time, we will work together on every single detail that will develop a bike capable of showing his huge talent,’ adds Filippo Preziosi, General Director - Ducati Corse.