Valentino Rossi cautious on Ducati future

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Valentino Rossi has no plans to quit MotoGP at the end of 2012, but insists it is too early to say whether he will commit his future to Ducati after this season.

Rossi endured a nightmare debut campaign with the Bologna factory in 2011 and lost his proud record of winning at least one race in each year of his Grand Prix career.

He managed a solitary podium in Le Mans but was never competitive to fight with dominant Honda rival Casey Stoner or former factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo are just three big names who are out of contract at the end of the 2012 campaign and much speculation and rumour will focus on the future of the Italian star, who will be 33 when the new season starts in Qatar on April 8.

Commenting on his future during Ducati’s 2012 team launch in Italy today, Rossi refused to be drawn on whether he would quit the Bologna factory unless results drastically improved this year.

But he said: “We will be speaking about the contract during the season. We have to organise ourselves for 2013 but I wouldn’t want to do it too soon because then you risk losing concentration for the championship. But we will try and plan for the future. The scenario is that during the season everything will become interesting because all the riders have their contract expiring, so the cards will be shuffled a little bit. But honestly I don’t know because I would like to be able to make the Ducati go fast and to win with the Ducati.

“I would like to do at least another contract so I would sign a further two-year contract. To go back with a Japanese bike is not very likely but who knows. All I can say is that today it is impossible. We started with this project (Ducati) and at least we would like to be competitive and to win something.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt