Four world championships, 46 wins, countless podiums, this is the result of Valentino Rossi’s seven year stay at Yamaha, which everyone back in 2003 thought would be a dud when he left the winning Honda HRC team.
With Rossi donning Ducati red next season (he’ll be riding a black Ducati and wearing unadorned leathers during the two day test) he and Yamaha did the usual loved and respected relationship hoopla and all great stories must end routine for the press.
Rossi is expected to undergo shoulder surgery to repair ligament and tendon damage sustained in his April motocross accident next Monday or Tuesday in Milan.
“This is a very emotional day but I’m very happy as well because I don’t have any regrets and there have been no bad moments or thoughts throughout these seven seasons together with Yamaha. From the beginning it was something great and we worked very well together. Like in life, in sport the results are crucial but just as important is the enjoyment and we had this at Yamaha. We had a great fusion in my team – the Australians, the Italians, the Japanese, the English and many more…a lot of people all together having fun. said the nine times World Champion.
“If in 2004 somebody had told me that I would win four world championships with Yamaha and 46 Grand Prix I would have signed in blood! I am happy. I have to thank first of all Masao Furusawa because we went through some difficult moments but we were able to improve the bike and make it the best machine, then I just have to say a big thank you to everybody who helped me in these seven seasons, and wish everyone good luck.”
Masao Furusawa will be retiring at the end of the year, and probably will really miss Rossi said: “I would like to thank Valentino very much, I started in MotoGP in 2003 and it was a terrible year, it was almost like I was in hell! I really wanted to make the YZR-M1 a better bike but the more investigated it, the more I realised I needed something else, more than the bike. So we found Valentino Rossi. First of all I didn’t believe Valentino would come to Yamaha because the bike wasn’t great but somehow it worked. After South Africa in 2004 I felt like I was in heaven, it was a very exciting and memorable year. In 2004 Valentino was the only one who could win on the YZR-M1 so he contributed a lot to developing the bike. This year not only Valentino but also three other riders were fast so it’s clear that our YZR-M1 is a pretty good bike. This is mainly because of Valentino’s contributions over the years so I really appreciate that and I want to wish him all the best in the future.”
While Lin Jarvis said: “In 2003 when we had our worst year ever in GP racing and finally we said that whatever we were going to do, without Valentino Rossi on the seat it wasn’t going to work! That was the point where we decided that we needed him. There were some exciting and secretive negotiations with Valentino and it was a very important decision but, with the backing of Masao Furusawa and the President of Yamaha Motor Company, we made it happen. It was ‘do or die’. With a huge commitment from Yamaha, the engineers and everybody in the team we made it work. We are very, very grateful because Valentino’s arrival really turned things around for Yamaha and we came back to victorious ways. We are incredibly thankful and grateful to him for that. We’ve had so many exciting and enjoyable moments with him and with the crew that he brought with him, who are great guys. Today we will be saying goodbye to a great number of people including Davide Brivio, Jerry Burgess and the whole crew.We’ve had a super time, it’s been a really excellent team and we will miss them tomorrow, it will be a strange day.”