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What did Valentino Rossi mean?

10 November 2009

Valentino Rossi has sought to play down comments in a BBC TV interview, broadcast just before Sunday's MotoGP season finale, in which he appeared to state that Yamaha must decide between keeping him or team-mate Jorge Lorenzo for 2011 - and spoke of a 'great option' to join Ducati.

Pressed on his comments, Rossi told La Gazzetta dello Sport that his words had been incorrectly interpreted.

The Italian stressed that he expects to remain at Yamaha after 2010, that his words were not an ultimatum and that he doesn't have - or want - a 'veto' over the identity of his team-mate.

Here are Rossi's exact words during that part of the BBC interview...

Suzi Perry (BBC):
You said you wanted to end your career with Yamaha. Do you still feel like that?

Valentino Rossi:
Not sure at 100 percent. It depends what happens next year.

Suzi Perry:
What does it depend on?

Valentino Rossi:
It depends about my performance. And the performance and the fight with Lorenzo. And the decision of Yamaha for 2011.

Suzi Perry:
You mean if they re-sign Jorge?

Valentino Rossi:
You know, I think Yamaha has to decide between me and Jorge. For 2011. It depends. Depends a lot. Is early to say. I have anyway a great option that is Ducati. To change bike and try to win with the Italian bike.

Suzi Perry:
Would you like that?

Valentino Rossi:
Yeah for sure it is a great motivation, but I prefer at this moment to stay with Yamaha, because I think the love between me and Yamaha - our relationship - is something special and change bike is 'unfaithful' [says in Italian]. I think for Yamaha it is very important that I finish my career together with them, and also for me it is important.

British viewers can watch the interview again online via the BBC iPlayer.

Lorenzo, who became team-mate to Rossi during his rookie 2008 season, won four races this year and claimed second in the world championship. Rossi, now a seven time MotoGP champion, has never before had a team-mate as his closest MotoGP rival.

Rossi and Lorenzo, like Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda), are all out of contract at the end of 2010.


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