On Thursday, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi was one of five riders who participated in the pre-race press conference ahead of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. And as expected, much of the conference’s talk revolved around the nine-time World Champion’s signing with Yamaha Factory Racing for the 2013-2014 MotoGP Championships.
This was also the first time that Rossi, who won four title with Yamaha, offered public comments on the signing. And the Italian went into much detail about the move from the Ducati, which he struggled on since joining the team in 2011.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team MotoGP) says: “After Laguna I had a break and I had more time to think deeper about my future. It’s a great pity for me and Ducati and all our fans, but especially for the guys that worked with me on this project.
“We try to be competitive – an Italian rider with and Italian bike, but unfortunately it hasn’t happened. These two seasons have been very difficult and we have struggled a lot unfortunately. We were not able to improve our speed and our performance and to fight for the good positions.
“So for this I decided it was enough and so I tried to think which was the most competitive bike for the next two years that might be the last of my career. It’s a great pity and I’m very sad also because in Ducati I found some great people and we had a lot of great times together. We tried the maximum.”
Rossi then commented on re-joining his former teammate, current MotoGP Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who joined the factory Yamaha team in 2008.
Valentino Rossi says: “Yeah, will be interesting. Now the situation has changed a lot compared to the past, compared to 2008 when Jorge arrive to Yamaha. Now he’s the No. 1 in the team, and our relationship is good. I have respect for him, and he has respect for me. So I think we can stay together. I am sure that together we can form a great team for Yamaha, to try to achieve good result in the next seasons.”
Rossi also confirmed that he will take his team with him, and may stay with Yamaha beyond 2014 if everything goes well.
Valentino Rossi says: “So I think my crew will come with me. More or less the same guys that came with me from Yamaha to Ducati. But is still not decided 100 per cent. And about my future, it will depend a lot on the result of the next two seasons. Because I want to remain more than two seasons in MotoGP but that depends how strong I am and if I’m fast with the M1.”
Rossi also offered further insight on why he went with Yamaha, and the money situation.
Valentino Rossi says: “I had some different options, and I tried to choose the best bike for me for the next two seasons and just this for the rest – the rest of the contract is not a problem. I’m happy about the contract for the next two seasons. I know that I can be stronger with the M1 and especially can enjoy because, you know, the next two seasons for me will be hard, especially try to stay with Jorge, also to beat Jorge, because now he’s very, very fast. But I need a bike for enjoy. At this moment of my career I have to enjoy, I have to try to fight and to arrive happy at the racetrack.”
When asked abou the rumor that Rossi will carry a lot of money to Yamaha, Rossi offered the following: “These (rumors) are just bullshit. I don’t know why I have to bring money to race with Yamaha. I am happy about my contract, and my contract is fixed. So I hope that Yamaha can find a good sponsor for next year. I think speak with some other guys and – yes, it’s true speak with Monster but already before I arrive.”
Lorenzo also spoke of his renewed partnership with Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP) says: “On the prospect of the renewed partnership, and whether there would be another wall put up in the garage, the Mallorcan commented: “I think it’s interesting to see how we can handle Valentino and me in the same team and on the same bike. I’ll be interested to see what’s going on, and for me it’s a great pleasure to be teammates with him again. I always say the wall is a stupid thing. It doesn’t make sense for anything. No wall is OK for me and I think for Vale this time.”
As for Rossi’s current teammate, Nicky Hayden spoke of his relationship with Vale, and what the Italian did for the team.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team MotoGP) says: “We’ve had a good relationship. I’m not going to be in tears over it. As great as it would have been to see Vale at the front with the Ducati, it just hasn’t happened. As good as it would have been for the sport him winning on a Ducati, him being at the front on anything I think we’ll all benefit from.”
Photos by Ara Ashjian