Valentino Rossi is looking more and more likely to make a shock switch from Honda to Yamaha in 2004.
GP sources claim the deal is already done – but nothing official is expected until Sunday’s Malaysia GP. And Rossi poured more fuel on the fire when he told MCN: " The contract Honda offered is not good for me, and it’s not possible for me to sign. Now I don’t know what the situation is. I am waiting for my manager. "
That man, Gibo Badioli, is due to arrive in Malaysia this evening (Thursday, October 9), but Rossi added: " Absolutely nothing is signed. "
The GP paddock is buzzing with the revelations, and everyone is certain he won’t be on an RCV next year.
MCN’s GP reporter Matthew Birt said: " Everybody here seems convinced of it, but getting something official is as easy as nailing jelly to the ceiling. I saw Rossi in the paddock and when I asked if he’d signed, he just smiled, said no and walked off. "
One source claims he will definitely ride for the Gauloises Yamaha team, replacing Alex Barros. They say Honda’s latest contract didn’t meet Rossi’s demands, particularly on the issue of his image rights.
If Rossi does move, it will open the flood-gates for a raft of other big-name rider moves. Colin Edwards and Barros are tipped to return to Honda, and Carlos Checa could also move from Yamaha to a Honda RCV.
See next week’s MCN, out October 15, for the full amazing story.
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