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Mon Apr 21 16:53:54 SAST 2014

Rossi ready to ride with Lorenzo at Yamaha

Sapa-AFP | 17 August, 2012 07:520 Comments
Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix
Valentino Rossi of Italy and Ducati Marlboro Team looks on during the press conference pre-event of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on August 16, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana
Image by: Mirco Lazzari gp / Getty Images

Nine-time world MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi says he and Jorge Lorenzo can put their past differences aside and will have no problems coexisting as teammates with Yamaha.

“It will be interesting,” said Rossi, who is in Indianapolis to prepare for Sunday’s race at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  The 33-year-old Italian rider revealed last week he would rejoin Yamaha at the end of the season after an unsuccessful spell at Italian manufacturer Ducati.

  The move to Yamaha will re-unite Rossi with Spain’s Lorenzo, who currently leads the MotoGP championships by 23 points after five wins in the first 10 races of the 18-race series.

  “Now the situation has changed a lot compared to the past and compared to 2008 when Jorge arrived at Yamaha,” Rossi said.

  “Now he’s the No. 1 on the team, and our relationship is good. I have respect for him, and he has respect for me. So I think we can stay together.”  Rossi said his break with Ducati was “a great pity for me and Ducati and all our fans, but especially for the guys that worked with me on this project.”  “We try to be competitive — an Italian rider with an Italian bike — but unfortunately it hasn’t happened,” Rossi said.

  “These two seasons have been very difficult and we have struggled a lot. We were not able to improve our speed and our performance and to fight for the good positions.

  Lorenzo said he welcomed Rossi back into the fold, while also acknowledging that the two did not always see eye-to-eye.

  “I think it’s interesting to see how we can handle Valentino and me on the same team and on the same bike,” Lorenzo said. “For me, it’s a great pleasure to be teammates with him again.”  The Spaniard said he had never been in favor of putting up a wall between them in the garage.

  “I always say the wall is a stupid thing,” Lorenzo said. “It doesn’t make sense for anything. No wall is OK for me and I think for Vale this time.”  Rossi’s last victory was in October 2010 in Malaysia and he is currently eighth in the world championship classification.

  Yamaha Motor Racing said Rossi had signed up to race for them for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, renewing an association that saw him finish in the top three for seven consecutive years — a period that included four titles.

  Rossi also said that he plans to take his crew with him, and that he is not close to retiring and may even stay beyond 2014.

  “I want to remain more than two seasons in MotoGP but that depends how strong I am and if I’m fast with the M1,” he said.

  Ducati racer Nicky Hayden, of the United States, said he was not heartbroken to see Rossi go, but felt he had been a good teammate.

  “I’m not going to be in tears over it,” Hayden said. “As great as it would have been to see Vale at the front with the Ducati, it just hasn’t happened.

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