Valentino Rossi is leaving Ducati’s MotoGP factory team to race for Yamaha.
This move comes as a surprise to, oh, just about nobody. Rossi’s had a terrible time racing for Ducati; he hasn’t been able to come even close to consistent winning results on the factory bike.
He’ll race the 2013 and 2014 MotoGP seasons for Yamaha, and should likely make the switch to World Superbike in 2015, when Yamaha expects to return to that series.
Of course, Rossi raced for Yamaha between 2004 and 2009, winning four MotoGP titles in that time frame. He’ll be back on the factory team next year, racing alongside Jorge Lorenzo, with Ben Spies gone to BMW’s World Superbike team. They’ll be aiming for the triple crown – rider, manufacturer, and team championships.
Here’s what Yamaha racing bigwig Lin Jarvis had to say:
“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% 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.”