Valentino Rossi will return to Yamaha factory racing team in 2013 after leaving Ducati at the end of the current season, the Japanese manufacturer confirmed today.
Ducati announced this morning that Rossi was leaving the team following a disappointing two-year spell at the Italian squad, where the Italian rider struggled to be competitive, managing no victories and just two podiums so far.
Rossi enjoyed a very successful relationship with Yamaha, who he joined from Honda at the start of the 2004 season. With the Yamaha squad, the nine-time world champion took the titles in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 and scored 46 victories before leaving for Ducati at the end of 2010.
Rossi will rejoin Yamaha alongside Jorge Lorenzo, who was his team-mate at the team before he made his move to Ducati.
“This announcement is once again excellent news for Yamaha,” said team manager Lin Jarvis, who earlier in the year said Rossi’s return was ‘not an option.’
“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.
“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 move comes just weeks after current factory rider Ben Spies announced he would be leaving the team. With Rossi now out of the Ducati fold it looks like a two horse race to replace him between current Yamaha Tech 3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso.