The dream of millions of MotoGP motorcycle racing fans worldwide became reality this week: Rossi made the official move to Ducati.
The nine-time (including 125cc GP, 250cc GP, 500cc GP and MotoGP) World Champion Valentino Rossi made his first official appearance as a Ducati Team rider on Jan. 11, 2011 at the annual WROOOM preseason media event in the Italian Alps.
The Italian superstar Rossi moved to the iconic Italian motorcycle racing team after the 2010 MotoGP season and will pair with American MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden. Rossi spent the last seven seasons racing with Yamaha, winning four world motorcycle titles.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: "It will be an emotional challenge; it will be difficult, but I’m happy because there’s a lot of extra motivation," explains the Italian motorbike rider. "They’re very excited at Ducati. They believe in me, and we’ll do our best."
Rossi, known as "The Doctor", "Vale", "VR46", "The GOAT", ect., will come to America to race on a Ducati at Laguna Seca on July 24 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the fourth annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 26-28. Rossi won the inaugural MotoGP event in 2008.
The 2011 MotoGP season starts March 20 with a night race in Qatar, but Rossi has plenty of work to do to regain his fitness after off-season shoulder surgery.
He injured the shoulder during motocross training early last season, and it hampered his ability to keep pace with former Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who won the 2010 MotoGP World Motorcycle Championship.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati GP11 MotoGP) ends by saying: "I won’t be able to be in top form for the first test in Malaysia, because it will be impossible to regain full strength, but I hope to be able to have a good seating position. The doctors assured me that the shoulder will return to 100 percent in a few months."
Ducati also unveiled its GP11 motorcycle that Rossi and Hayden will ride in the 2011 season. Engineers tweaked the engine to obtain a flatter power curve, and new aerodynamics were created for the bodywork to create less lift, more top speed and less fuel consumption.
The 2011 Ducati GP11 motorcycle also features a reworked rear swingarm, fork and electronics.