News regarding Valentino Rossi is at a fever pitch, as it is expected the Italian rider will announce at the Catalan GP his intentions on where he will race in next season. For weeks, if not months now, Rossi has been linked to a very lucrative €15 million deal with Ducati Corse, while Fiat-Yamaha have reportedly scaled back their offer on the GP Champions from his current €14 million salary to €9 million.
Paddock gossip has said that Rossi has been considering both offers; however, at Barcelona we should finally know the answer to what team Rossi has picked, but some sources are already claiming they know the answer.
Perhaps the most emboldened is MCN, who says for certain that Rossi will ride for Ducati, after negotiations with Fiat-Yamaha broke down in the final hour. However Crash.net, who also cites a team insider, hedges their bet, saying that speculation is more rumor than fact. Whether one can believe the Rossi to Ducati news, virtually all sources across the board say we will know all at Catalunya in a couple day’s time.
If Rossi does go to Ducati, Ben Spies is expected to get the nod, and be moved up from the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team to the factory supported Fiat-Yamaha garage. Spies would then play second fiddle to Jorge Lorenzo, who has reportedly secured a doubling of his salary to €8 million.
While he is no Rossi, Lorenzo has proven himself to be a GP Champion in the making. Last year he pushed teammate Rossi to the brink as they vied for the Championship title, and this year he is the clear favorite with Rossi out of the picture. With the two riders virtually on par with each other on the same machinery, it will be interesting to see if Rossi can keep pace on the allegedly inferior Ducati GP11 if he switches teams next season.
We still think it’s too close to call regarding where Rossi will land in 2011, but with GP racing only a few days away, we won’t have long to wait on this one. Stay tuned race fans.