Furusawa retirement influenced by Valentino Rossi's Ducati move

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Yamaha boss Masao Furusawa has admitted he'd have delayed his retirement had Valentino Rossi not quit and joined Ducati in 2011.

Furusawa played a fundamental role in the most successful period in Yamaha's history, completely revamping the race department at the end of 2003 ahead of Rossi's arrival.

Rossi went onto win four world titles while Jorge Lorenzo continued the Japanese factory's domination of MotoGP last year.

But Furusawa retired last month and Rossi himself said one of the main reasons he left Yamaha to join Ducati was because of Furusawa's departure.

Furusawa told MCN Rossi's departure played a key role in his decision to step down, confirming that senior Yamaha management had tried to persuade him to stay.

He said: "I really wanted to ask Valentino to stop with us and be an ambassador of Yamaha for the future but he changed his mind. MotoGP is so much fun for him but I'd already decided to stop. If Valentino had decided to stay with Yamaha I would have maybe carried on for another two years. But once he decided to go to Ducati, I decided immediately I was going to stop. I had some requests from the President of Yamaha to continue but I need time to enjoy my life. I will have a position inside of Yamaha for one more year as an advisor."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt