After breaking the news that Valentino Rossi signed a two-year contract with Ducati Corse, or as we like to refer to it: the worst kept secret in the MotoGP garage, we waited to see the official news of Rossi’s departure materialize after the weekend break, but to no avail. Knowing that our information was correct, we now understand why the announcement didn’t materialize when we expected it: because of a gentleman’s agreement between Ducati & Yamaha.
In exchange for delaying the announcement until after the American round at Laguna Seca (now slated for the Monday after racing at Brno), Yamaha is allowing Rossi to test the Ducati Desmosedici GP10 when MotoGP stops at Valencia at the end of the 2010 season.
Rossi hinted that an announcement about his future would wait until after the Czech GP, and now the Monday after Brno seems to be the venue where we’ll officially hear what we already know. Yamaha’s concern about an announcement before the Red Bull US GP reportedly stems from the company’s desire to keep Rossi’s star power at its highest as the team heads to the company’s most important motorcycle market.
Yamaha Motor USA made it obvious last year with their marketing efforts that when MotoGP comes to town, Yamaha intends to capitalize on the situation. With a bevy of humorous videos and photos coming from the Yamaha MotoGP teams and factory-backed riders, we expect a similar campaign will unfold this year as well. Obviously if news about Rossi heading to Ducati had been made official before these campaigns, they wouldn’t have the same meaning or weight.
The real question in the Ducati/Rossi saga though, is whether Jeremy Burgess will follow Rossi to Ducati, or stay at Yamaha. With some rumors pointing JB to a possible stint at HRC with Casey Stoner, we’ll likely have to wait until Rossi/Ducati’s announcement to know what the Yamaha garage will look like in 2011.