With the announcement of the agreement between VR46 and Ducati to race together in MotoGP next year, the Saudi prince, financier of the operation, also said that his desire is to see Valentino racing in the team sponsored by Aramco, paired with his brother Luca Marini. At the moment, however, it seems that the legendary Aladdin’s lamp would be needed to make it happen.
“I have not yet decided if I will continue racing next year, because I want to think more about it in the summer break - says Rossi - I will also have to talk to Yamaha and Petronas, I would like to get better results and so far it has not been a fantastic season. It will be difficult for me to race in 2022. The prince is pushing me to do it, but at the moment it is very difficult ”.
Did you know about this desire from him?
“We had already talked about it together but I didn't expect him to say it in the official press release. I also told him the same thing: it is very, very difficult that I will race, not only with Ducati ”.
Is your passion still intact?
“You can't just race for the money, as if this is just a job. All the riders are driven by passion, it is something we understand when very young we get on the bike and see our future way. My passion remains very high, I still have a lot of fun on the bike, but the results are very important. This type of life is very stressful, you have to train a lot and there is always a lot of pressure, which comes both from outside and from yourself. Passion is not a problem, but you have to understand if you can get certain results, because they are the ones that make the difference in all sports ”.
If you are not there, there will be your team in MotoGP…
“We are all very happy and proud of this project born 10 years ago with the Riders Academy and continued with the teams in Moto3 and Moto2. Every person who works there is excited, we will be with Ducati and we are happy that the bikes, riders and team are Italian ”.
Many observers thought you would make this leap with Yamaha…
“My relationship with Yamaha is very good and I think I have had the best moments of my career with them. It would have been nice to have a team with them, but Petronas wanted to continue the collaboration with Yamaha, we talked about it and we decided that it's the best thing for everyone. I am happy with the agreement with Ducati because they have a fast bike and have always supported the Academy. In my heart, however, I will always be a Yamaha rider ”.
What was the reason you chose Ducati?
“We talked to different brands, when you do this type of negotiation there are so many things behind it, you have to consider the price, the support, everything. In the end, Yamaha and Ducati remained, we decided on the latter because we have a good relationship with Ciabatti and Dall'Igna, they have a competitive bike and I think we have more things to share with Ducati, especially to help young Italian riders grow up. This was the main reason ".
But now you are still a rider and the Assen Grand Prix is this weekend…
“It is a great place, more or less all the riders love it, it is the track with the most history and then it has a fantastic design, even if it has been modified, the taste of the old track remains. It is always a pleasure to ride here ”.
From today you are also an honorary citizen of the city…
“It's an honour, because Assen is an important place for all the riders and fans, it's a magical and famous track. I also have the keys to Laguna Seca, I would say two beautiful places (laughs). For us riders Assen means track and paddock, but in the past I happened to go out for dinner and I always enjoyed it ”.