“It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd confirms the signing of Valentino Rossi to ride for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team for 2013 and 2014.
Valentino Rossi first joined Yamaha in 2004 and achieved four MotoGP World Champion titles with the Yamaha YZR-M1 in 2004 & 2005 and again in 2008 & 2009. He won 46 Grand Prix races with Yamaha over a 7 year period before leaving at the end of the 2010 MotoGP season”
Rossi’s return to Yamaha will see him partner MotoGP championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo. The pair were teammates for three seasons when Lorenzo first moved into the premier class and had an often times uneasy relationship with their rivalry splitting the team in every sense and seeing a wall mounted in the garage as Rossi did not wish to share his data with his younger rival.
Both riders however seem to have mellowed in the last two years with Lorenzo maturing immensely since his crash happy rookie campaign and now one of the most complete racers in the history of the sport.
Rossi on the other hand has clearly been humbled by his inability to win on the Ducati and a return to Yamaha was his only option of a competitive bike next year. Having been instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the Yamaha squad in 2004 it will be very interesting to see the dynamic of the Yamaha squad next season.
The team is now clearly Lorenzo’s team and Rossi will have to be measured in his attempts to win favour amongst the squad. Lin Jarvis made sure to placate Lorenzo throughout his courtship of Rossi and the Spaniard’s confidence in his ability to beat Rossi has been clear for much of the year with repeated statements saying that he would welcome Rossi back to the team.
For Yamaha the move is crucial as after two years of self funding they will surely be able to find a title sponsor for next season. For the sport in general the move will also be crucial in ensuring the short term prosperity of the series.
Falling crowd and TV numbers have clearly been linked to Rossi’s failure to be competitive aboard the Ducati and his return to Yamaha should at least allow him to make podium finishes on a consistent basis.
The worst kept secret of MotoGP 2012 has finally been confirmed and now the countdown begins until Rossi is once again racing for Yamaha.