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2006 Yamaha YZR-M1

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For many MotoGP fans, Valentino Rossi’s move back to Yamaha is a welcomed escape from the career-ruining Ducati Desmosedici. The perception, of course, is that the 1,000cc Yamaha is not terribly different from the 800cc-era machine, and therefore Rossi’s return to the tuning-fork brand should mean an instant return to his success and his alien status alike. When we have these thoughts, we forget that in 2009 Rossi struggled to keep teammate Jorge Lorenzo at bay on the same machine, and that in 2010, right before his leg injury, Rossi was behind Lorenzo in the Championship points. Add in two long years at Ducati Corse, and there is ample reason to believe why Rossi’s return to Yamaha in 2013 will not look like his first venture with the Japanese company, nine years ago.