The Italian press is buzzing about the latest silly season info regarding Valentino Rossi, and where he will be racing next year. According to Corriere dello Sport, Ducati has upped their offer to Rossi to €15 million and has included provisions that would allow the Italian to race later with either Ferrari F1 or Fiat Rally teams once he’s finished with motorcycle racing.

Now…you’d expect Yamaha to up its ante on the nine-time World Champion, right? Not quite. Instead Yamaha has reduced Valentino’s Rossi contract price from the €14 million they current pay him each year to €9 million. More on the reasoning behind that after the jump.

Allegedly Yamaha’s salary cut stems from the team’s need to reduce costs, and also to offer Jorge Lorenzo more money (the Spanish rider currently makes €4 million per year, and is expected to get double that if/when he renews with Fiat-Yamaha), but more on that last bit in a minute. The kicker to the salary reduction is that Rossi is for it in concept. Rossi has made it clear that he wants to end his career with Yamaha, and looks at the salary cut as a way to be a team player. For the World Champion, racing has a lot less to do with his salary (he makes the majority of his money from endorsements, promotions, etc), and more to do with the perks and public perception.

Make no mistake that personalities play a huge role here, and Valentino Rossi isn’t all-together pleased that part of his paycheck would essentially be going to Lorenzo, as the two riders still compete with their egos on & off the track. Add into this the fact that for the first time in a long while, Rossi does not have the upper-hand in his bargaining position.

Not only does Fiat-Yamaha have the best bike on the grid, but the team also has another rider who can equal or best Rossi on any given Sunday. This is to say, Yamaha doesn’t need Valentino Rossi in order to compete for the MotoGP Championship, nor does the team need to find a media friendly rider, and as such may not see a need to compete with Ducati on contract terms. This doesn’t mean that Fiat-Yamaha doesn’t value the star power that Rossi has, but the Italian rider won’t be able to extort grandiose terms like he did when he left HRC for Yamaha back in 2003.

In reality only Ducati can offer Rossi the salary commensurate with his position on and off the MotoGP grid, since the Italian rider on an Italian team is a huge selling point for the company, Ducati can make a large salary make sense from an ROI perspective. However the Desmosedici still proves a tough nut to crack, and a move to Ducati would mean severing ties with a team that has treated Rossi very well in the past.

It’s a tough choice for the Champion to make, and we imagine he’ll be pondering his options quite a bit while he’s recovering from his broken leg.

Source: MotoMatters

  • Victor Knowles

    Of course I would love to Rossi on Ducati. I hope he heals enough before he gets on a bike and doesn’t try to hasten the process. Jorge is an immensely talented rider.I have to admit it took me awhile to admit that. Being a Rossi fan. I hope they make the racing interesting. It isn’t always so. It would be kind of cool to have Rossi and Hayden garaging together again as well.

  • Lefty

    Wow, if those numbers are anywhere close to being the truth, Rossi is as good as gone. I can’t imagine his ego living with Lorenzo having a WC and more or less equal pay.


  • “The Desmosedici still proves a tough nut to crack” –

    Rossi is one of the best development riders around so the challenge with an Italian bike towards the end of a career factors into decision-making for someone like Rossi. Winning a championship on an Italian bike that he helped develop would be a historic final effort.

  • froryde

    I hope Rossi stays at Yamaha. I couldn’t care less about the Italian rider/bike combo – as a matter of fact I prefer if Rossi DIDN’T go just to shut the Ducatistis up – Rossi’s came across as a Yamaha man to me (well, one could say that when he was at Honda I guess).

    However, the option to race F1 or rally post MotoGP sounds tempting, but probably the nail in the coffin would be knowing that part of his salary went towards paying Lorenzo.

    Now if Rossi were on an MV or Aprilia – that would be something!

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  • ted

    I quote from your article:

    “In reality only Ducati can offer Rossi the salary COMMISERATE with his position on and off the MotoGP grid…”


    Wrong word boys.

    Gentlemen…*shakes head*. Please. You’re supposed to be journalists, trained in the proper use of the english language. Please use the proper words for what you’re trying to express:

       /kəˈmɪzəˌreɪt/ Show Spelled [kuh-miz-uh-reyt] Show IPA verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.
    –verb (used with object)
    to feel or express sorrow or sympathy for; empathize with; pity.

       /kəˈmɛnsərɪt, -ʃər-/ Show Spelled[kuh-men-ser-it, -sher-] Show IPA
    having the same measure; of equal extent or duration.
    corresponding in amount, magnitude, or degree: Your paycheck should be commensurate with the amount of time worked.
    proportionate; adequate.
    having a common measure; commensurable.

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  • eze1976

    Rossi is the ultimate development rider, with motoGP going to 1000cc for 2012 I think for ducati to pick him up for the entire process would a brilliant move. If they can get him for 15 so be it he will bring more than a couple people to ducati plus float some italian egos as well.

  • eze1976

    oh yeah, Ted your a jackass, talk bikes not grammer

  • GeddyT

    to eze1976:

    If you did that on purpose, that’s some funny stuff!

  • Grimmy

    Looks to me Yamaha are forgetting what Rossi did for them. What has Lorenzo done to benifit the team. Agreed he is a very talented rider and no dought win a WC this year. But if not for Rossi would he be on a winning Yamaha this year? I just fell Yamaha are doing the dirty on Rossi.
    Quit MotoGP and give Aprilia a call Valentino! Now that I would love to see.

  • Sam

    15 million and benefits..?
    start painting those ducs yellow!

  • CSimmo


    Learn to read you dyslexic donky, it does say COMMENSURATE.

    While I agree that Lorenzo is probably the second best rider in the GP padock, I don’t believe he would be anywhere near Valentino had he had to develop his own bike. That is the big difference, Valentino is a genius at both riding and development – the best ever!

    While I’m not a big fan of Ducatti, I think Vally should go there and wipe the floor with the upstart and the ungreatful Yamaha team. He needs to keep Jerry Burgess and co. tho.

  • Graeme

    CSimmo, I totally agree with your comments. Yamaha seem to have forgotten were Rossi got them, considering they were nowhere when he joined and basically, Lorenzo was handed a competitive bike that was developed in a big part by Rossi and his team. Would Lorenzo be looking at a title this year other wise? To me Yamaha has a short memory, Rossi did the hard yards for them and should be getting paid more, Lorenzo just seems to have no respect for what Rossi achieved in the past and only wants to boost his own ego at Rossi’s expence.

  • Simmo

    Agree with most that has been said, Rossi should go to Ducati. If he stays at Yamaha an wins the title in 2011 it is another win, but to win at Ducati would be Special. As for ego’s yes both Rossi and Lorenzo both have them, but Rossi didn’t get it by acting a prat. Why would Lorenzo be a Spanish person dressing as an Italian (Roman), and from the last attempt, he has proved himself to be a Space Cadet, but a talented rider, next year should be good.

  • Ted

    This article fails to mention that the only reason the yamaha is the bike to be on is because of Rossi. If we go back into the not so distant past when Max Biaggi was riding the yamaha and said the bike was not capable of winning. Rossi left honda and won a title his first year on the yamaha. Since then he has developed the bike so that if you have any talent you should be able to be competitive on it. The real test for Lorenzo is to see if he has the talent to develop the bike further. Ducati has realize that only stoner is able to ride the ducati to competitive level and has been trying to fix that problem. Rossi and Burgess should be able to give ducati the info needed to make the bike number 1.

  • wether rossi is departin

    however he is a best driver, also suits for yamaha no 1 compare to other bikes
    as he doesnt suits to ducati very well known about tat, let us see how he will be in in the grid from next race in ducati.