Valentino Rossi MotoGP News
Finally, the rumors can be laid to rest regarding nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi's whereabouts in 2013 MotoGP.
As expected, Rossi will depart with the Ducati Team at the end of 2012, and join the Yamaha Factory Team for 2013/2014 MotoGP. The official word came from both the Ducati Team and Yamaha Factory Racing team early Friday morning.
Ducati Team says it "wishes the Italian well for the new challenges that await him, and in the meantime, the team will continue to give its best effort in order to improve over the latter part of the season."
Beginning in 2013, Rossi will fill the vacancy left by current rider Ben Spies, who has yet to report where he'll go for 2013, though many expect a return to World Superbike. Rossi will be teammates with the 2010 MotoGP Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, who previously stated that Rossi needs to get back on a "competitive bike."
And the YZR-M1 is competitive, considering Lorenzo currently leads the 2012 MotoGP Championship after taking five victories from the first 10 races. This is the same bike Rossi Rossi helped develop throughout his seven-year tenure with factory Yamaha in the premier class (2004-2010). 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.
The managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing, Lin Jarvis, is clearly excited about the future of Yamaha Factory Racing with this "Super Team" for 2013/2014.
Lin Jarvis says: "This announcement is once again excellent news for Yamaha. In June we were able to sign Jorge Lorenzo for the 2013-14 campaign and now we are able to confirm Valentino Rossi for the next two years. In doing so we have been able to put together the strongest possible team to challenge for victories and to promote the Yamaha brand.
"We have run this ‘super team' together in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and during that time we achieved the ‘triple crown' titles with Rider, Manufacturer and Team World Championship victories for three consecutive years.
"The target for the future is obvious and we will do our utmost to achieve our goals.
I have no doubt that with the experience, knowledge, skills and speed of these two great champion riders we will be able to challenge for many race wins and for the 2013 & 2014 World Championship titles.
"The signing of Valentino completes our future planning for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team. Now that this is done we will put our 100-percent efforts into completing the job at hand and to supporting Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo in their search for race victories and for Jorge's 2012 World Championship title challenge."
There's no official report of what Yamaha will pay Rossi, but sources say the Yamaha contract was for around $10 million for the two-year contract. This is much lower than the alleged contract of up to $40 million allegedly offered by the Audi AG-owned Ducati.
Also, there's no word if Rossi's famed crew chief, Jeremy Burgess, will be joining Rossi. Burgess was with Rossi throughout his championship-winning years on the Yamaha, and made the move with Rossi to Ducati. Due to the success of the duo, Rossi will likely do whatever it takes to bring Burgess aboard.
So far for 2013, the American Nicky Hayden is confirmed to ride with Ducati Team after singing a one-year extension. But as for his future teammate, there's no official word.
Stay clicked to UltimateMotorCycling.com for further updates as they become available.
Yamaha photos from Rossi's tenure with the former Fiat Yamaha team