• Rossi wanted to start a fresh chapter in MotoGP career
• Italian felt his work at Yamaha was finished
Valentino Rossi said it was the motivation to start a fresh chapter in his MotoGP career that led him to quit Yamaha and switch to Ducati for next season.
The 31-year-old six times world Motogp champion has signed a two-year deal with the Italian manufacturer after he felt his work with Yamaha was over. The decision of Yamaha’s Motogp cheif Masao Furusawa to retire at the end of this season also prompted him to seek a change of teams.
“In general I have two or three important things,” said Rossi. “First, at the end of this season, Masao Furusawa retires, and stops work. So for me, it was important. These seven years Furusawa was always the No1 of Yamaha. So without him, I don’t know what will happen. So for this I was quite worried.
“I have the feeling that my work here in Yamaha is finished,” he added. “So the situation changed a lot. We did a great job, fantastic, great emotion, but we modified the situation from 2004 in [a] positive [way], because now the bike is fantastic. Maybe it is the best one, and Yamaha have great riders, especially [Jorge] Lorenzo but also [Ben] Spies is fast.
“So it looks like for me here, the time is finished, you know? So I need a new adventure, some new experience, but especially a new motivation. So, I decided for Ducati.”
“At the beginning of the season I spoke to Ducati. I felt Ducati is a lot more different than in the past, a lot more open to fix all the important things of the contract together. So from that moment I start to think.”
“I heard somewhere that it is a money choice, but I want to say that this is not true, because the money I will take from Ducati is exactly the same money as Yamaha offered,” he said. “So there is no difference, zero difference. It means also PR days and days of work outside the grand prix and work into the weekend, all these things.
“So, I think that, I always speak with [Ducati general manager] Filippo Preziosi, and I see in him the similar behaviour that I saw in Furusawa in 2004.
“He wants me and he trusts in me and he thinks that together we can improve the Ducati, so I’m curious. I think this year the bike become a little bit easier to ride, but I think we can modify the bike like we want.”
The Italian wants Yamaha to release him in time to take part in the post-season Valencia test. “I expect that Yamaha will let me try the Ducati in Valencia, because our story is a different story [from Honda, which refused to allow him to test for Yamaha in similar circumstances], and I give more to Yamaha from 2004 to now, I improve a lot the bike and all the team, so if they are fair, they have to say yes for my test in Valencia.”