Valentino Rossi unlikely to accept Carlos Checa’s WSB challenge

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Valentino Rossi has virtually ruled out making a shock World Superbike wild card appearance for Ducati later this year.

The nine-times world champion was challenged to a duel by WSB championship leader Carlos Checa at the Imola round on September 25, which Rossi would be free to compete in as the race falls between the Motorland Aragon and Twin Ring Motegi MotoGP races.

But Rossi, who is struggling to make Ducati’s factory MotoGP bike competitive in 2011, said it was unlikely he would take Spaniard Checa up on his invitation.

Although he reiterated his desire to one day compete in a World Superbike race, Rossi said it would have to be outside of the MotoGP schedule.

He did try and secure a wild card in the Qatar round in 2009 for Yamaha to race against Troy Bayliss, but the Japanese factory declined his request to ride a factory R1.

Rossi said: "It is a good idea and I like it but it is always difficult for the calendar. In the past I was always very close to make a WSB race, especially in 2009. There was the race in Qatar but Yamaha said to me they have a new R1, so they don’t have a lot of money and they were not sure. I want to do it but I prefer out of the season. During the season it is too much and it looks like the result of Carlos and the Ducati that the bike isso fast. So why not in the future and because maybe we can have more fun than here."

Rossi also dismissed the idea of WSB and MotoGP running at different times of the year, as has been previously discussed.

Plans to run the WSB campaign over the winter months and MotoGP through the summer have been debated but Rossi said: "I heard about this idea from two years ago but maybe it has some good and bad points. Maybe it is more difficult for WSB to be in the winter to find the right places to make the races. I want to try and make one race but if WSB is in the winter then I don’t make two championships, it is too much."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt