The debate over Valentino Rossi's future could be set to be cleared up as soon as this weekend's Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona, a source close to Crash.net
Varying media reports in recent weeks have had Rossi signing for Ducati Corse, staying put at FIAT Yamaha and then signing for Ducati again only this time with the carrot of some future Ferrari F1 test – and perhaps even race – outings thrown in for good measure, but still there has been nothing official to confirm. It appears fans may not have much longer to wait.
According to a paddock insider at Catalunya, the record-breaking multiple MotoGP World Champion has agreed terms with Ducati to join the Italian manufacturer from 2011 onwards, replacing Casey Stoner who looks to be Repsol Honda-bound. In the 31-year-old's place at FIAT Yamaha would graduate Ben Spies, who over the last two races at Silverstone and Assen has laid down a genuine marker with a podium finish and a fourth place for the satellite Tech 3 squad.
It is widely believed that Rossi's unwillingness to partner Jorge Lorenzo for another season – after issuing a dramatic if subsequently retracted ultimatum late last year that it would be either him or the Spaniard at FIAT Yamaha in 2011, with the bottom line being that the team wasn't big enough for the both of them – has hit an insurmountable stumbling-block in his employer's desire to retain the current runaway pace-setter's services, regarding him at just 23 years of age as the future, and indisputably a world champion in-the-making.
That, it would appear, was the final tipping-point for the Urbino native, and with Ducati having made no secret of its desire to poach 'The Doctor' away – and stumping up a big-money offer in its efforts to do so – Yamaha's immovable object has seemingly met Rossi's irresistible force and the fallout looks likely to leave the most successful rider of the modern era set for a future in red. Perhaps both on bikes and in cars.
So what do you think? Is Rossi Ducati-bound, or can the Italian yet be persuaded to stay put at Yamaha into an eighth consecutive campaign? And what do you make of the Ferrari speculation? Have your say by posting your views in our comments thread via the link below.