UPDATE TO STORY BELOW:
It seems Niall Mackenzie’s account was hacked and the facts of the story below are a hoax. Clearly Valentino Rossi is still ruminating on his options…and we will have to wait a little longer before we hear the truth.
VR46 MotoGP News
The MotoGP rumor mill continues to spin regarding nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi’s position in 2013 MotoGP.
Following two years of struggles with the Ducati Team, it appears Rossi will return to the Yamaha Factory Team, joining former teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
The speculation arrives after two significant events – current Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies departure from the team at the conclusion of the 2012 season, and former 500cc MotoGP rider Niall MacKenzie tweeting “Done deal! A well-known Italian will definitely be on a blue bike next year, woo hoo!”
MacKenzie’s tweet arrived after he allegedly observed Rossi at Yamaha Motor Europe headquarters.
If Rossi fills Spies’ vacant seat on the Yamaha YZR-M1, the Italian will return on a bike he helped develop throughout his seven-year tenure with factory Yamaha in the premier class. During that time, Rossi amassed 46 wins and four titles. Conversely, in the past two years with Ducati, Rossi only made it to the podium twice – third at a wet Le Mans in 2011, and second at a wet Le Mans this season.
As for money, various European reports say the Audi AG-owned Ducati offered Rossi a two-year contract of around $40 million to continue on the GP12, though Yamaha will likely offer a much lower amount. Plus, there are rumors that Yamaha won’t pay the high-price allegedly wanted by Rossi’s crew chief, Jeremy Burgess. But Rossi will likely do whatever it takes to bring Burgess aboard.
And if the rumors are true, Rossi will return with his former rival Lorenzo, who in reports said Rossi needs to be back on a “competitive bike.”
Rossi is supposed to make an official announcement before Indianapolis MotoGP (Aug. 17-19), which will certainly be the most covered story in 2012 MotoGP.