Rumors have persisted for years that Valentino Rossi will eventually end up on a Ducati in MotoGP putting the ultimate Italian champion on the quintessential Italian race bike. Now the Italian press is reporting that Rossi and Jeremy Burgess have been spotted entering the Ducati factory for secret talks.
ducatinewstoday has already laid out the argument for why Rossi will ultimately end up at Ducati. The short story is that he has a shot at ending his career by succeeding his hero Giacomo Agostini as numerically the best racer of all time.
Now Italy’s Republica (amusing English translation) is reporting that last month Rossi was seen entering the Ducati factory gates at Borgo Panigale in an Audi S6 (nice ride) with his longtime friend Uccio at the wheel. Critically, the report claims Jeremy Burgess was with him. Burgess who was critical in the Rossi Honda to Yamaha transition is expected to be a deal breaker for any Ducati move. That is to say Rossi would want his trusted team engineer to come with him to help him tame the Ducati MotoGP beast.
Rossi has been subtly changing his rhetoric towards Ducati since he earlier asserted he would likely finish his career on a Yamaha.
After Jorge Lorenzo re-signed with the leading Japanese team Rossi called the ‘father’ of the Ducati Desmosedici, Filippo Preziosi, a phenomenal person and also stated that he is sure that he could tame the D16 if he could set it up the way he likes, but wouldn’t want to leave Jeremy Burgess and the rest of his team after ten years of challenges and so may wins.
Rossi is currently leading the 2009 MotoGP championship by 18 points from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo with 3 rounds of the series to go including this weekend’s Australian GP at Phillip Island.
Commenting on rumours in the Italian press of a switch to Ducati next season, Rossi was clear in his dismissal. “Sincerely I don’t understand why,” he stated. “Especially because it is 100% impossible, because I have a contract with Yamaha. So it is not possible to go to Ducati next year, but also because I don’t want to!”
Of course he won’t be switching in 2010, the question is what color will he be riding in 2011? What do you think? Is this more evidence for a move come 2011 or is it typical nonsense form the Italian press? Chime in with your views in the comments section below.