Yamaha deny Valentino Rossi ultimatum

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Yamaha has denied Valentino Rossi’s decision to join rivals Ducati was the result of its failure to axe Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo.

For months it has been rumoured that Rossi issued Yamaha with an ultimatum at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans declaring he would only sign a new two-year deal if Lorenzo was fired.

But Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis denied there was an ultimatum issued by the 31-year-old and he said: “We would be happy to have kept both riders.

"With Valentino we proposed a two-year contract extension but we were clear from the beginning we saw the team to be with Jorge and Valentino staying together.

"We realised it would have been difficult and it has not been super easy in the last three years because we’ve seen Jorge’s speed increasing and we’ve seen the rivalry among two great champions in the same team grow. It is not easy for that to continue and something has to give.

"I think the fact that Casey (Stoner) went to Honda meant that our competitors became very hungry and the final choice was Valentino took the Ducati option and Jorge decided to stay.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt