Yamaha has confirmed that Valentino Rossi
will return to its factory MotoGP team to race alongside Jorge Lorenzo
for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
A triple world champion for Honda, Rossi went on to win four more titles and 46 of his record 79 premier-class wins for Yamaha between 2004 and 2010.
Then came an ill-fated switch to Ducati, which has produced just two podiums from 27 races, prompting Rossi to abandon the all-Italian dream and seek an M1 return.
“This announcement is once again excellent news for Yamaha," said Yamaha Motor Racing MD Lin Jarvis, "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."
Despite appearing to find a natural home at Yamaha in 2004, cracks in the relationship began to appear when the factory signed up-and-coming star Lorenzo to replace Colin Edwards
alongside Rossi for 2008.
Lorenzo soon proved to be a competitive thorn in Rossi's side, prompting the retention of a wall between the pit garages even after the single tyre rule was introduced. Lorenzo grew stronger with each passing season and was leading the 2010 championship when Rossi broke his leg at Mugello.
Rossi returned later in the year and claimed a symbolic 46th victory with Yamaha - at the Malaysian race where Lorenzo was crowned champion - by which time he had already announced a headline grabbing switch to home manufacturer Ducati.
The Doctor had moved to Ducati with the aim of trying to become the first ever rider to win premier-class titles for three different manufacturers. But Rossi, like most of the paddock, had severely underestimated how much of Casey Stoner's success was purely down to the Australian's irreplicable talent.
Despite major technical changes to try and accommodate Rossi, which saw the Desmosedici morph from a stressed-engine carbon chassis motorcycle to an unstressed twin-spar aluminium design by 2012, Rossi was unable to repeat his sensational switch from Honda to Yamaha.