Valentino Rossi has confirmed that he is not riding for Honda in 2004. Meanwhile Colin Edwards has signed to ride alongside Sete Gibernau under Telefonica Movistar colours.
Rossi said that the reason for his departure is that he wants a new challenge. The Italian world champion remains under contract with Honda until December 31, but after that one of the most successful partnerships in GP racing will end.
It looks likely that Yamaha could sign Rossi after a statement was released confirming their interest.
Fortuna Yamaha team director Davide Brivio said: " We welcome the new that the Honda-Valentino Rossi relationship has drawn to a close. I can confirm that our discussion with Valentino’s management are proceeding well. We shall proceed with our negotiations and hope to conclude an agreement within the immediate future.
" Until we have finalised an agreement with Valentino we shall not be able to comment on our team’s final line-up for 2004. "
In the meantime, Colin Edwards has returned to the factory with which he won World Superbike titles in 2000 and 2002. He will ride a Honda RC221V alongside Gibernau in the Gresini Racing team, which are sponsored by Telefonica Movistar.
Team boss Fausto Gresini said, " I am at the head of a winning team Sete and Colin are reason to have high hopes of top results. I am a great admirer of Edwards he is a rider who combines talent with determination."
Read about WSB champion Neil Hodgon’s move to GPs with Ducati, and Shakey Byrnes factory Aprilia GP ride by following the links on the right. Comment on these moves on the MotoGP discussion board.