New BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry feels Valentino Rossi left Yamaha for the wrong reasons - and hopes he can now make a winning return and 'stick two fingers' at those in the sport 'he propped up' who wrote him off at Ducati.
Perry fronted the BBC's motorcycle racing coverage for 13 years, starting with WSBK before the corporation switched its emphasis to MotoGP from 2003.
She stepped down at the end of 2009 - when Rossi won his seventh and most recent MotoGP title - to concentrate on her mainstream TV work.
Rossi left Yamaha at the end of 2010. The Italian megastar recorded just three podiums during two troubled years on the Desmosedici, but has been back in contention during pre-season testing ahead of his Yamaha return.
Perry is also making a comeback in 2013 - to live motorsport at the BBC, having been chosen to take over from Jake Humphrey as presenter of the company's highly-rated F1 coverage.
Speaking exclusively to Crash.net
during Wednesday's London press launch for the BBC's 2013 F1 coverage, Perry's continued enthusiasm for MotoGP was clear. “I'm so excited about this year in MotoGP,” Perry began. “Rossi should never have left Yamaha in the first place. Easy to say now, but I think I said that at the time.
“He gave me the ['it's me or Lorenzo'] interview at the end of the 2009 season
and it made headlines across the globe, although not many in Britain took notice. He shouldn't have gone to Ducati really. I felt it was a bit of an ego driven move, with what was going on with Jorge [Lorenzo, team-mate], which wasn't the right reason.
“I'm glad to see him back with Yamaha. I feel as though he has almost wasted two years in a way. I think we could see him back on the top step of the podium this year. That would be great, because so many people have written him off. I just want him to come back and stick two fingers up at those people!
“For so many years he propped up that sport [MotoGP]. He was the hook that they hung their coat on and I'm really surprised that so many journalists switched quite quickly off to him. I was quite shocked by that.