I agree that if he does choose to go back to Yamaha - I say choose as he has said the choice is his alone with 3 offers on the table - it will be a ballsy move and deserving of some respect as Lorenzo seems to be riding a crest at the moment, looking completely at one with that bike and taking him on will be a monumental task. The outright smoothness that Lorenzo achieves and displays on the Yamaha is incredible to watch and in complete contrast to the two Hondas which are squirming all over the place to get the same lap times in quali today
If Rossi has learned to check his ego, he could go there saying that yes, Lorenzo is the best out there and I am looking forward to the challenge of competing against him. It will be tough but I will do my best. I think if he did that, no-one would think any worse of him if he did get beaten - but can he work that way? I still liken him to Alain Prost with his manipulating of team matters and the only thing that bothers me if he went back is that there seem to be influential people who have a vested interest in him winning again with money, as ever, at the root of it. I'd hope, that collusion to ensure he did win wouldn't raise its ugly head. Lorenzo doesn't deserve that.
I did think though that his statement about the Yamaha ride having negatives showed that he wasn't overly confident of taking wins from Lorenzo. Personally, I think he may get one, maybe more, but don't think he will beat Lorenzo to the title, and Pedrosa will be very hard to beat also. With the rest of the competition on satellite bikes, CRT or factory Ducatis, you would expect that he should regularly be on the podium.
The Ducati period has been humbling. The body language today at the end of quali could finish it. He can't ride it and again Hayden can find a quali set up with the soft tyre that he can't. Personally I don't think either of them is getting the full potential out of that bike but Hayden is getting more out of it than Rossi. Rossi should be half a second up on Hayden, not the other way around - or are we seeing as fact that on equal equipment, he isn't actually that much quicker than a capable team mate.
I think he should go back. No matter how much Audi fund it next year, unless they turn it into a Yamaha clone for the start of the season, another barren year will pass. Staying on for another year won't get him the results he wants and by 2014, who knows what state his self-confidence will be in. It must have taken a mauling by now. Also, come 2014, there may be no more openings at Yamaha. This is his last chance. I can't see him letting it pass by.
Whether his confidence has been hammered to the point that Lorenzo will finish him remains to be seen but either way, wherever he goes next year, he is in for another tough season and his reputation is on the line, completely. Some aspects of it are irretrievably gone such as set up and development ability together with the ability to surmount and ride around any problem. Showing that he still has the speed and ability to compete for wins on a good bike are salvageable. But it will be a hard slog I think.