MotoGP // ROSSI WILL RIDE FOR DUCATI IN 2011Valentino Rossi surprised absolutely nobody this afternoon when first Yamaha, then Rossi himself, then Ducati announced that he is leaving Yamaha to ride for the Italian manufacturer for 2011-12. While a big shakeup, Rossi’s Ducati move has been a near-certain rumor in the motorcycling world for many months, it’s unofficial status coupled with its near-certainty having been a running joke for some time now... [read more]

Yamaha issued a press statement about Rossi’s leaving, followed by a handwritten note by Rossi himself, filled with conciliatory language. That part was good to see given Valentino’s acrimonious departure from Honda at the end of 2003. Yamaha will release Rossi to test the 2011 Ducati machine directly following the season’s last race of the year in Valencia, Spain on the 7th of November.

Conventional wisdom cites Jorge Lorenzo’s dominance on the Yamaha M1 that Rossi and his crew chief Jerry Burgess have developed over the years as one of the prime motivators for Rossi’s departure. Yamaha also attempted to cut Rossi’s salary by around a third in order to give Lorenzo a hefty raise.

While it’s not hard to believe that the world is focusing on the “Italian on an Italian bike” narrative, the prospects of a title on a third manufacturer’s bike are likely what Rossi himself has in mind. That sort of a coup would leave little ammunition for those disputing his “greatest of all time” status.

The big question mark is still whether Jerry Burgess and the rest of Rossi’s crew will be making the jump yet again.

Photo/Editorial: Jeff Winterberg

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