MotoGP: Rossi to end dire Ducati stint, return to Yamaha

Nine-time world champion has not won a race with Italian team

MotoGP: Rossi to end dire Ducati stint, return to Yamaha

(ANSA) - Rome, August 10 - Italy's nine-time motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi will leave Ducati next season and return to his former team Yamaha on a two-year contract, the Japanese outfit said in a statement on Friday. Rossi has struggled since joining Ducati at the start of the 2011 season. Indeed, the 33-year-old has not won a race since the start of what was meant to be a dream marriage between Italy's best and most charismatic rider and its most glamorous team. Rossi first joined Yamaha in 2004 and won four of his seven premium-class world titles with them, in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009. During his seven-year stint at Yamaha he won 46 grands prix. He will be teammates again with Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, the 2010 MotoGp world champion who is currently top of the riders' standings after winning five of the 10 races so far this season. Ducati said Rossi would leave them at the end of the current campaign on Friday, shortly before Yamaha announced he was joining them. Ducati race motorbikes are notoriously powerful but hard to handle and Rossi never managed to get to grips with the machines the team provided for him, even though the 2012 bike was virtually built from scratch to try to suit his riding style. Rossi's father Graziano Rossi welcomed Friday's announcement. "For a racer who wants to start winning again, finding a winning bike is a huge joy," said Rossi senior, himself a former motorcycling racer. "These last two years have been full of disappointment, I don't think Valentino has ever fallen so low. "But disappointment can also be an incentive. This means that he will be able to climb back up again and he will be marvellous, even more so than before". Rossi is second in the all-time motorcycling grand prix wins standings with 105 victories, 17 fewer than his compatriot Giacomo Agostini.

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