Valentino Rossi says it was a 'mistake' to leave Yamaha for Ducati in 2011 over the manufacturer's decision to give him and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo equal treatment.

Lorenzo made his MotoGP debut in 2008 aboard the Michelin-shod M1 - in contrast to Rossi on Bridgestone rubber - and quickly made his mark by qualifying on pole position for his first race and winning on only his third outing at Estoril.

As Lorenzo developed into a consistent front runner and title contender, Rossi and Lorenzo forged an inter-team rivalry typified by the infamous 'wall' within the garage, with Rossi displeased at having not been given clear 'No.1 status' at Yamaha.

The rivalry would play its part in Rossi's motivation to join Ducati at the end of the 2010 season, an ill-fated two year tenure that would see him return to Yamaha in 2013. With the benefit of hindsight, Rossi now accepts he was wrong to leave Yamaha for this reason.

"Maybe I did a mistake in 2010 to move from Yamaha because I wanted to be the number one rider and when Jorge arrived he was treated equally to me," he said. So I didn't like this [and left for Ducati]. But it was a mistake.

Ironically, with Lorenzo winning the 2010 and 2012 titles, Rossi says he now benefits from Yamaha's equal treatment policy since he has been allowed to return on an even keel with his title-winning team-mate.

"Now it is the same, but it [Yamaha's policy of equal treatment] is a small advantage for me. Because Jorge remained at Yamaha, became world champion but from when I returned I have had exactly the same treatment as him. Yamaha like it a lot when we fight. And they tried to support both of us at 100 per cent.

Lorenzo, meanwhile, is full of praise for the way Yamaha has treated him since making his debut, adding that he had 99.9 per cent equality when paired with Rossi.

"Yamaha have always treated me very well from when I joined the team in 2008. They gave me all the support on and off the bike. I have everything. In the first year compared with Valentino I had the Michelin tyres, so this aspect was different. But since 2009, from Brno, I've had exactly the same treatment as Valentino. Maybe before just one piece [on the bike] was different, but 99.9% was equal.

"From Brno 2009 we have had exactly the same treatment and now - as always - Yamaha always listens to the comments not only of the official riders, but also the Tech 3 riders to improve the bike. So I don't think they treat one rider differently to the others."

 

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