Yamaha play down Valentino Rossi/Troy Bayliss WSB scrap

Published: 17 December 2008

Yamaha has again played down persistent reports linking star rider Valentino Rossi with a sensational one-off World Superbike clash against Troy Bayliss.

Ever since Rossi claimed that World Superbikes was the most entertaining form of motorcycle racing at the last race of the MotoGP season in Valencia, the Italian has been linked with a head-to-head against triple WSB champion Bayliss.

Reports in Europe suggest six-times MotoGP world champion Rossi has finalised a deal with Yamaha to race Aussie Bayliss in the second round of the 2009 WSB series in Qatar on March 14.

Rossi would be available with the MotoGP season not kicking off until April 12 in Qatar, though Bayliss would have to make a quick return having only retired at the end of the 2008 WSB campaign.

But a Fiat Yamaha representative said: “Valentino has given a couple of interviews since Valencia where he has spoken of his passion for World Superbikes and how much he enjoys that series. There is no doubt that it would be a very exciting and epic battle, but there is no plan by Yamaha to let Valentino race in World Superbikes.”

After the dull conclusion to the MotoGP campaign in Valencia in late October, Rossi said World Superbikes was far more entertaining.