Endurance: Yamaha boss 'we want Rossi back at Suzuka next year'

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Yamaha’s European boss Eric de Seynes has made a stunning announcement at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour race, admitting that it’s a priority of the Japanese factory to see Valentino Rossi return to the race for the first time since 2001 – and to potentially make it happen as soon as next year.

Rossi last raced at Suzuka in 2001, taking victory alongside Colin Edwards for Honda – and swearing at the time never to return to the physically draining race at the height of the Japanese summer.

However, with the race set to celebrate it’s fortieth anniversary in 2017 – and with a new Honda Fireblade on the way to try and wrest the title back from Yamaha at their home race, the Dutchman admitted that they want to see Rossi on the machine.

“This race is key in the racing calendar, and we would love to get Vale for the anniversary. It’s been already discussed, but we know it’s a project that we could match some day. Will we achieve it next year? I don’t know. But I know for sure one day he will enjoy returning to Suzuka.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer