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Yamaha explain Valentino Rossi’s return
24 August 2012
Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis has revealed it was Valentino Rossi who made the initial approach regarding a return to the factory's MotoGP team for 2013.
After struggling at Ducati since the start of last year, Rossi will re-join Jorge Lorenzo at the official Yamaha team for the next two seasons.
Rossi helped transform Yamaha's MotoGP fortunes when he joined as the reigning triple world champion from Honda at the start of 2004.
However his final seasons saw the relationship sour slightly as young team-mate Lorenzo grew in strength.
“The reason to have Valentino back with us is the seven years of excellent history we have together,” said Jarvis at Brno on Thursday.
“We won four titles together, we made great history in the sport and also a lot of positive image for Yamaha. The decision to take Valentino back is to come back to the good times.
“It was not in my opinion a bad 'divorce' [at the end of 2010] and we had remained on good terms.
“I would say there had been some discussion in the background for some time [about a return to Yamaha for 2013] and the real negotiations probably began in July.
“Then, as Valentino clarified, he made his decision in the week after Laguna Seca. So the final negotiation was quite short, because we know each other well.
“Valentino made the approach to express his interest to return to Yamaha. So the first point of contact came from Valentino's side to Yamaha.
“We informed Jorge at Mugello [mid-July] that there looked like there was a possibility to contract Valentino.
“I think Jorge would honestly have preferred to keep Ben [Spies] as his team-mate, and that was the way we were going as well in our early mid-season planning.
“But finally Jorge respected Yamaha's decision to bring back Valentino and it is up to us to manage the situation.
“I can say that Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO] had no influence whatever in the entire process. I have never discussed Valentino Rossi's return with Carmelo still to this day.
“We consider Jorge as our priority number one rider for the current championship and coming two seasons. We consider Jorge to be the most capable rider to win the world championship.
“We had a lot of competition from Honda to sign Jorge and we did our maximum to sign him. So Jorge is the key for pure results.
“Valentino has an enormous global awareness and popularity. There is no doubt he did great things for the Yamaha brand and there is no doubt he can do still do great things for Yamaha and this sport.
“Having Valentino on a competitive motorcycle will be very popular for MotoGP. This sport is going through difficult times and it is not aided by seeing the most popular rider in world down in sixth, seventh or eighth place.
“So seeing Valentino on a competitive bike - whether Honda, Yamaha or Ducati - will bring benefit to all riders and all teams.
“We signed Jorge and we made our maximum [financial] effort. We will never go into financial situations, but I think Jorge is taken care of very well and we did not have a huge budget remaining for Valentino.
“Jorge has the number one tag because of his current performance and future potential, but we will treat both rider exactly equally.
“During the discussion with Valentino we spoke about the past and I think the situation with the team will be different. Previously, Valentino was the number one and Jorge the arriving youngster. That created tensions.
“We have explained that we don't want to see any situations [like Motegi 2010] where our riders will be endangering the result of the other. This is always difficult with two strong riders, so I don't say the next two seasons will be easy, but I believe we can manage that.
“Nobody knows how competitive Valentino will be from the start. Jorge has two more years under his belt and is very fast and consistent. Dani is riding superbly. Unfortunately Casey won't be there, but there are a lot of young fast riders.
“My opinion is that Valentino can definitely win races in the first season. Can he win a tenth grand prix championship? I don't know. Time will tell.”
Rossi won four of his seven premier-class titles and a symbolic 46 race wins for Yamaha.