Valentino Rossi’s litany of complaints about the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 given live on Italian TV after the Qatar round of MotoGP triggered a wave of speculation. For the first time, Rossi had openly complained that Ducati had not given him the bike that he believes he needs to go fast, and that he had felt like pulling in before the end of the race. That, combined with an interview Rossi also did with the Italian magazine Motosprint in which he implied that Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi was failing to provide the help that he and the other Ducati riders needed caused a massive reaction throughout the media and across the web.

Some reaction was amusing, such as the Downfall parody on YouTube, discussing Rossi’s poor qualifying at Qatar. Others were more serious, including an article on the Spanish website suggesting that Rossi could try to get out of his contract before the year was over and wait for 2013, when, the article suggested, he could obtain a satellite Yamaha M1 to compete with the blessing of Dorna. Rumors quickly started to grow that Rossi’s relationship with Ducati could be over, and sooner than anyone expected.

Ducati moved slowly to counter the reports, CEO Gabriele del Torchio telling the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that it was “too early to talk of a divorce”. But the waiting was for a response from Valentino Rossi himself.

That finally came today, at Monza, where Rossi is competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series with his best friend Alessio “Uccio” Salucci. Italian TV presenter Valerio Stafelli presented Rossi with a “Tapiro d’Oro”, a satirical prize for well-known Italians who have good reason to be sad (the tapir’s long face is said to make it look sad), and Rossi seized the opportunity to announce on TV that he was intending to stay with Ducati, and no divorce was imminent. “I am very ‘attapirato’ [I have a very long face – DE] because with this Ducati, I cannot be competitive,” Rossi told TV host Stafelli. “I can’t ride at 100%, and the others are all very fast.”

But he would not be giving up any time soon, Rossi said. “We will keep trying at every race,” he told Stafelli, “We will not give up.” As for all the talk of a split with Ducati, Rossi denied any idea of leaving. “I will stay with Ducati. We will do everything we can to make the pairing of Rossi and Ducati function successfully.”

For a considered view of the Rossi/Ducati situation, and the possible permutations of Rossi’s future, we recommend you read Dennis Noyes’ take on the situation over on the Speed TV website.

Source: GPone, MotoSprint, Motocuatro, Repubblica, & Speed TV

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Jake

    Regardless of whether or not you like Rossi, I believe all MotoGP fans would like to see a competitive Ducati team. This business of factory Yamaha and Honda bikes disappearing over the horizon isn’t good for the spectacle or the sport.

  • Steve Lang

    I think Nicky said it best,… “You dance with the girl you brought”.

  • Adam

    Rossi adds character to the sport and is exciting to watch race, top level riders need to be riding at the front not mid pack. I think Nicky proved on Sunday how noncompetitive the Ducati really is 6th place and 28.4 seconds from a win… 26 seconds from a podium, both Tech3’s were ahead of him and the other satellite Honda’s right behind. its only one race and the results are already surprising, lets check back mid season and see where everyone is. The guy is not going any wear he will be wearing red at Valencia.

  • JW

    Yes I am sure Nicky and VR want to win and are both capable of doing so. They both are under contract and I believe are honorable men and very good for the sport. So, they still must enjoy what they are doing and they both make more money than they will ever have the time to spend. There is so much going on behind what we do not see. I do see trouble ahead for the sport in general and I hope Dorna does what ever is nessasay to keep the sport alive. I can see the day Rossi and Nicky get on a SBK, this sport is fun to watch as well.

  • 15 million huh? Never Give UP! gahahahaha

  • MikeD

    Is ok Dude……..suck it up and TAKE IT LIKE A MAN. Better times(bikes) will come ur way…hopefully. LMAO.
    Besides, i don’t think u can just WALK AWAY from a binding race contract with Ducati…or anyone else for that matter w/o some “bad” side effects.
    Maybe if u keep whining they’ll get sick of u and will let u go before u know it.

  • Westward

    I have seen sports figures, entertainers, and lottery winners squander millions. Regardless of amount, never underestimate the human animals capacity for waste…

    As for Rossi, even if the rumours turn out to be true, he could probably go to Kawasaki, Suzuki, Aprilia, or even BMW and convince one of them into forging a full fledged factory effort…

  • Beary

    Rossi adds Character to Motogp ? I think that is living in the past a little. At the moment the only characteristic he is bringing to the show is the ‘sad clown’.

  • Bjorn

    I’m curious as to what sort of position Rossi would finish in on a Yamaha or Honda. I often wonder if it is purely incompatibility with the bike or if the fire no longer burns as hot.
    I guess time will tell as I don’t believe he will renew his contract when the option is presented. After having given him what is essentially a Nipponese style bike to (so far) no effect, I doubt Ducati are eager to re-sign him either.

  • JoeD

    It Seems the Asians are not the only ones who gloss over the facts to save face. Ducati has lost the way and cannot or will not admit it. All of the bikes have similar power levels and it is the ability of the chassis to handle it or lack of that Rossi is fighting. For years, twins and triples have been given extra displacement and less weight to achieve parity with the I4 Asians. Sadly, when every one has a 4 cylinder 1000cc prototype, Ducati comes up short. What good is power if it cannot be used? Give all of the Ducati riders a 990 series bike and see what happens. Sometimes old is better. Suck it up, Ducati. Admit failure and fix it.

  • MikeD

    JoeD says: April 14, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    For years, twins and triples have been given extra displacement and less weight to achieve parity with the I4 Asians.

    I could be mistaken but i think you are talking about the wrong series here (WSBK ?)
    Who was crazy enough to race A TWIN in MotoGP before against all the I-4s and V-4s ? That’s just crazy ballsy.

    I think the Aprilia I-3 Cube had the same 990cc as all the other players ?……someone correct me if im wrong !

    I strongly believe/lie to myself that just like ur saying they(Ducati) will be reverting back to part of their ROOTS & HERITAGE also known as The TRELLIS Frame……………..kind of like when Triumph stopped fooling themselves that they could beat the Japanese OEMs at building I-4s and REVERTED back to their BREAD & BUTTER = TRIPLES BABY !!!!

    Or even worse………back to the Carbon Fiber…LOL.
    In all seriousness……………they have LOST their WAY.

  • spytech

    casey stoner is a talent, fastest man on two wheels, but he cant win on a bike that is not competitive against the rest. yes he won on the ducati that had favorable tires to its side. it worked out for him but how about the next few years when others were on same tire or tire rules changed? now switch to a honda and he wins. bike is more important than it use to be in the 500 2stroke days.

    hayden improved his time from last year, but finished the race 28 seconds behind. anyone think that is competitive??? stoner tried to use his talent to ride around the ducati’s problem and he crash a lot for it. he won a lot too, but it was risky and always on the edge.

    doesnt matter how good rossi is, if they dont give him a bike that can perform, he will not win and leave. can he be competitive again on a private yamaha or honda, dare i say maybe even suzuki? there is always a possibility – dont count him out, because you may have to eat your words later. everyone loves a comeback – can you imagine how the fans would react if he switched teams to something that worked and he won, it would be HUGE!!!

    by the way this is a good read –

  • MikeD,

    MotoGP has always kept the same displacement for different engine configurations, but instead changed the minimum weights for bikes with three, four, and five cylinders. Now the rules state only four-cylinder motors are allowed, so…

  • gc

    If Nicky , Colin and Rossi rode Donkeys, I would be there buying seats and cool race donkey shirts. Personality is invaluable.
    Racing is more than winning. Racing is racing.

    Jorge is the champ, but nobody cares, nobody misses Mladin do they?

  • MikeD


    Not really, is not like im going to be dating or marrying one of them or something…LMFAO.

    Personality….Schonality. I want results, good results (im pretty sure that’s what Ducati is screaming out loud silently).