Part 1 of MotoGP’s latest worst-kept secret is out: Valentino Rossi is to leave Ducati at the end of the 2012 season. Ducati this morning issued a press release (printed below) that their working relationship with Rossi will come to an end at the end of the season. The full press release is after the jump.

Ducati and Rossi to part ways at the end of 2012:

As the MotoGP series awaits its return to action for the August 19 Indianapolis Grand Prix, Ducati announces that its working relationship with Valentino Rossi will conclude at the end of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.

Ducati wishes the Italian well for the new challenges that await him, and in the meantime, the team will continue to give its best effort in order to improve over the latter part of the season.

Racing has always been in Ducati’s DNA, and now more than ever, it is integral to the Borgo Panigale company’s product development and image. AUDI shares Ducati’s strategic approach and agrees with its growing commitment to competition.

Therefore, having recently renewed its agreement with American Nicky Hayden, Ducati is in the process of finalizing the team that will take part in the 2013 World Championship, confident that its team and bike will be capable of competing at the highest level.

Source: Ducati Corse

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

  • TexusTim

    Well now we wait for Yamaha’s announcment…I guess Spies saw the writing on the wall………wouldnt it be crazy if he goes to Ducati ?

  • Westward

    Spies to Ducati, please…

  • Ken

    Spies to Ducati? hell no. Id rather see him in WSBK thank ducati motogp.

    Spies is more suited to WSBK anyway in my opinion.

  • Jake F.

    Yellow looks better on blue than on red. Still, I think all MotoGP fans (unless you hate Rossi or Ducati) wish the marriage had been happier. C’est la vie…

  • Calisdad

    A big collective sigh….. now lets get back to racing.

  • TimM

    It’s a say day when The GOAT says “See ya, yer bike is FUBAR.” A giant PR problem for Ducati, and not a good way to start off a relationship with Lambo/Audi. I wouldn’t want to be Filipo Prezioso right now. What happened? I just watched “Faster” again to get some perspective. When they jumped into GP in ’03 Ducati was competitive and the fastest bike on the track. Then everyone else cranked it up to 11 (or quit) and they just got lost. I hope Audi can help but 4-wheel traction is a lot different than 2-wheel. Bring back Bayliss and the steel trellis frame!

  • Bryan Niese

    I don’t think this is the end of the World for Ducati. Ducati wins where it really matters, on the sales floor. The win on Sunday sell on Monday idea hasn’t really meant much lately. Just look at BMW’s initial struggles in WSBK. For a manufacturer with a smaller budget than the Japanese I think it would have been insane to pay Rossi the 12 million euros that they reportedly offered. Judging by how the Panigale is performing in World Superstock I think Ducatisti will have plenty to cheer about next year as it moves to WSBK. While this news may be bad for Ducati’s MotoGP program, and even that is uncertain, it may be better for Ducati as a whole to not have the pressure or negative PR of trying to satisfy a discontent Rossi.

  • TimM

    ^^True Dat. Eddi La Marra has been tearing it up on the Panigale and WSBK is much more exciting than GP anyway. I’m hoping for someone to campaign an 1199 in AMA SBK.

  • Dave

    Stoner to Ducati! ;) …actually, I wonder if Ducati were to offer Stoner the same deal Rossi just snubbed if Stoner would go back? …especially the part about Ducati listening to whatever the rider asks,… the whole “Audi is in charge now and they’ll make sure Ducati does whatever you tell them to do.” …just wondering.

    Otherwise, with the money they saved by not re-signing Rossi, heck Ducati could pick up 2 more riders. Crutchlow and Dovi.

  • Neil

    I don’t think you’ll see Spies on the Duc….it would be cool to have both Americans riding Red but I think Crutchlow, Dovi or Barbera should fill that roll. Hell, they may even pull Scott Redding from Moto 2 ???

    I hope Ducati gives Nicky what he finally deserves….a true number one rider/bike to challenge with….

  • Leo

    This will be awesome, Audi/ducati snubbed by Rossi… Those Germans will spend whatever it takes to put any of their riders in front of Rossi from now on.. That will be the primary goal of ducati gp program.

  • A little sad to see VR go, but very happy for Nicky to be Ducati’s number 1 rider! I really hope Ducati go the distance and improve the bike to make him competitive again.

  • Bryan

    Probably best thing to happen to Ducati in a long time. Be good to have at least one more battling at the front next year, as Rossi most definitely will be. A two horse race for 18 races would be the end of Motogp.

  • ‘ . . . .confident that its bike and team will be capable of competing at the highest level.’

    Well for Nicky, I truly hope so. He’s stuck with them, not aired his laundry in public, and out-finished Vale over and over. Good guy.

    On the other hand, unless Audi assigns Dr. Ulrich and the LeMans crew to this moonshot of bringing the Desmo right, Nicky will have a long 2013, though probably longer than FP.