Jorge Lorenzo briefed on Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha return in Mugello

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Jorge Lorenzo has revealed Yamaha management briefed him about Valentino Rossi’s potential return to the Japanese factory during the recent Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

The Spaniard has been kept fully informed of Yamaha’s planned strategy for 2013, which will see a shock return to a YZR-M1 for Italian icon Rossi.

Rossi is expected to announce his decision to quit Ducati next week having failed to be convinced that he can return to winning ways on the struggling Desmosedici.

The 33-year-old has scored just two podium finishes in 27 races for Ducati since he quit Yamaha at the end of 2010 and he will reject that chance to sign a new two-year deal with the Bologna factory.

In an exclusive interview in the August 1 issue of Motor Cycle News, 2010 world champion Lorenzo admitted that Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis had spoken to him about partnering Rossi again during the recent Mugello round.

Yamaha has always insisted that as its undisputed number one rider, Lorenzo would be consulted on all major decisions impacting on the team.

And Lorenzo told MCN in Laguna Seca when discussing Rossi’s possible return: ”He (Lin) has already talked to me about this at the last race and for me it is OK.

“I must focus on my job and that is to try and win races with Yamaha and I don’t care so much about my partner. With Valentino we have won a lot of races and we were a very good team.

“For the media it was fantastic and for Yamaha maybe it is a good thing for them to sign Valentino and try to come back with two bikes in first and second. I was never worried about who will be my partner and when I was negotiating the contract I didn’t think about the second rider.”

The fact that Yamaha was conversing with Lorenzo about a Rossi swoop suggests a decision to axe Texan Ben Spies had already been made prior to his surprise announcement on the eve of the Laguna Seca race that he was quitting his YZR-M1 rid at the end of 2012.

Yamaha has denied informing Spies that he had lost his ride, with the triple American Superbike champion close to signing a deal to join Marco Melandri in a BMW Italia World Superbike effort next season.

It was also in Laguna Seca where Rossi gave his thoughts on a possible renewal of his fierce rivalry with Lorenzo.

When the pair were factory Yamaha team-mates between 2008 and ’10 they had a volatile relationship and a controversial ban on the sharing of data, implemented at the request of Rossi,  was one issue that marred their time together.

When asked by MCN in Califormia for his thoughts on partnering Lorenzo again, Rossi said: “My feeling has changed a lot because the situation has changed. I had some problems in the past with Jorge, especially because I was angry with Yamaha.

“After all I did for Yamaha they put in the team a very strong team-mate so I was p****d off with Yamaha more than him. Now it is a different situation and I understand that Yamaha made the right choice for Yamaha. This is not a big problem.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt