Nine-time world MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is to rejoin Yamaha at the end of the season after an unsuccessful spell at Italian manufacturer Ducati, the constructors announced yesterday.
Ducati announced that the 33-year-old’s contract would finish at the end of the 2012 MotoGP championship, ending weeks of speculation that the rider was to quit the Italian outfit.
Rossi has also had to deny rumours that he was going to retire at the end of the season from the sport he has dominated, given that he has been unable to match the championship-winning form that marked his time at Yamaha and Honda before that.
His last victory was in October 2010 in Malaysia and he is currently eighth in the world championship classification. Yamaha Motor Racing said in a separate statement that Rossi had signed up to race for them for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, renewing an association that saw him finish in the top three seven years in succession, including four titles.
Rossi left Yamaha for Ducati in 2011. Yamaha said Rossi would partner Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo, who currently leads the MotoGP championships by 23 points after five wins in the first 10 races of the 18-race series.
Managing director Lin Jarvis described the move as “excellent news”. “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,” he said in an emailed statement.
“In doing so we have been able to put together the strongest possible team to challenge for victories and to promote the Yamaha brand... “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 and 2014 World Championship titles.”