Davide Brivio, Valentino Rossi's team manager throughout his Yamaha career, has given an insight into the seven time MotoGP champion's switch to Ducati.
Rossi joined Yamaha, from Honda, as the reigning triple world champion at the end of 2003. It was a huge gamble, given that the M1 motorcycle took just one podium in the season before Rossi's arrival.
But the Italian, crew chief Jerry Burgess and Yamaha boss Masao Furusawa transformed the M1 over the winter. Rossi won the very first race of 2004, and ultimately Yamaha's first MotoGP title since 1992.
Rossi defended his crown in 2005, then bounced back from two successive title defeats to win again in 2008 and 2009. His 2010 title hopes ended with a broken leg at round four, while trailing team-mate and eventual champion Jorge Lorenzo in the points.
Despite Lorenzo's ascent, the Rossi/Yamaha relationship had been expected to continue, but Brivio believes Yamaha no longer felt dependent on Rossi for success.
”In 2003 when Valentino decided to come to Yamaha, Yamaha desperately needed Valentino," said Brivio. "But now Yamaha have Lorenzo and Spies, the other riders who can win with Yamaha.
"Yamaha wanted Valentino to stay, but also prepared without him.
"At the same time, Ducati wanted Valentino desperately - like Yamaha in 2003. Ducati and Rossi, they're Italian so they also understand each other."
And can Rossi repeat his Yamaha glory at Ducati?
"It is not an easy challenge because the rivals are very strong. But from technical point of view, maybe it will be easier than 2004 when Valentino came to Yamaha," said Brivio.
"The Yamaha in 2003 was not a winning machine and now Valentino will join Ducati, which already has a very competitive bike. It is already a winning machine.
”Valentino will have new challenge and will put a lot of motivation into this competition.
"I think he will fight for the title.