Valentino Rossi's Ducati dreams are over. And the seven-time MotoGP World Champion will rejoin Yamaha next year, to renew his quest for wins in the last two or three years of his career.
The news, expected for some weeks, broke on Friday, August 10 when Ducati's announcement that he would be leaving at the end of the year was followed shortly afterwards by Yamaha's confirmation that he would be rejoining the factory team for the next two years.
This also renews his uneasy partnership with Jorge Lorenzo, whose presence at Yamaha sent Rossi packing two years ago, leaving a hand-written love letter to the M1 motorcycle he and crew chief Jerry Burgess had helped to develop.
It also returns to Yamaha what they call a "super team," in which two major talents will be vying for supremacy. It's youth vs. experience, with two big egos on the line. As ex-Ducati teamster Livio Suppo put it: "You have to respect it. Rossi is putting his balls on the table."
The news caused a sensation within and outside racing, and is a welcome boost to the waning strength of MotoGP as a worldwide attraction, going a long way to make up for the precipitate departure of Casey Stoner.
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