Rossi To Decide Future After First Six Races Of 2014

Valentino Rossi has acknowledged he is one step closer to retirement. In an interview to be broadcast Italian TV channel Mediaset, the Italian said that the early tests and the first six races of 2014 would be crucial to the future of his career. 'In 2014 I need to be at the front, closer to the first three', Rossi said, referring to the Spanish trio of Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who dominated the 2013 MotoGP season. He has not lost his appetite for racing, Rossi told Italian TV, but he was not content just to circulate. 'I would like to continue for another couple of years, but only if I'm competitive.'

The announcement does not come as a surprise, coming hard on the heels of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess as crew chief. At Valencia, Rossi had explained that move as the need to find 'a new boost, some more motivation.' 'I know that it is a key moment because I have in my mind that I want to try one time in another way and I think this is the moment,' Rossi told the media. In the interview with Mediaset, Rossi skirted round the affair with Burgess, while hinting at deeper-seated problems. 'Explaining too many details of what went wrong would be a problem. It's better to think this is just a rider tantrum,' Rossi joked. The decision to drop Burgess looks increasingly like eliminating the final variable before reaching a conclusion about his own ability.

Rossi had already told the press at Valencia that the first few races of 2014 would be crucial, but he had now set a deadline. The date of that deadline is in itself ominous: the sixth race of the 2014 season will be at Mugello, the circuit which is closest to Rossi's heart, and a track where he once dominated, winning seven races in a row between 2002 and 2008. It is also the circuit where Rossi broke his leg in 2010, the first injury of his career serious enough to force him to miss races. If Rossi cannot stay with the three Spaniards at Mugello in 2014, then a retirement announcement seems inevitable. Sunday night at Mugello could be a very emotional experience indeed.

Valentino Rossi has acknowledged he is one step closer to retirement. In an interview to be broadcast Italian TV channel Mediaset, the Italian said that the early tests and the first six races of 2014 would be crucial to the future of his career. 'In 2014 I need to be at the front, closer to the first three', Rossi said, referring to the Spanish trio of Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who dominated the 2013 MotoGP season. He has not lost his appetite for racing, Rossi told Italian TV, but he was not content just to circulate. 'I would like to continue for another couple of years, but only if I'm competitive.'

Comments

Retirement Rossi...

Lets just hope that Rossi is still compatible the first half of next year, so we can enjoy this remarkable person and racer for a couple of years.

His retirement time will come..., but i would love to see him mixing it up with the "Spanish conquistadores" for a few seasons.

It might be "Keep on dreaming.." from my side :-)

Total votes: 81

Agreed Erminio

The good news is, this announcement will give us another dimension to obsess over during the first few races. I always root for Rossi to win. Now we have to root for his survival. The sport of motorcycling isn't ready to give him up just yet.

do it in 2014 VR46. Do it!

Total votes: 50

here here

I was never a HUGE Rossi fan, but after seeing him struggle and now returning to Yamaha. At his age, I just want to see him beat these young riders and show he's still got it!

Total votes: 47

Saving Time

Why bother waiting for the first six races. He will be fighting for fourth place, just like last year. Meanwhile, he will have given away six races in the class where he can be competitive, SBK. If he starts the season in that series, he has a legitimate shot at another world championship. Can you imagine what his presence would do for SBK? It would be beyond huge. And on a selfish note, being fron the San Diego area, I'd get to see him at Laguna Seca again!

Total votes: 55

Don't hold your breath

Rossi will never race WSBK, Rally racing yes

Total votes: 18

What an incentive for the boys!

What an incentive for the boys the ramp up the pressure on Vale. There's nothing like demoralising an opponent, particularly with Vale realising here's on the slide, it time to put the knife in!

Go Dani, Marc & Lorenzo, help him confirm his retirement at Mugello!

Total votes: 80

Too late.

The knife has already fount its mark. Rossi is already beneath their notice. If they simply keep on racing each other to the limit they will, by default, leave The Yellow One in the dust. If #46 is sincere (cough, cough), he'll 'know' soon enough, within the first 3 races, I'd guess.

(Beneath the desperate denial and crass bus-tossing of those around him, I suspect he already knows all too well. I also suspect that when his ego does finally acknowledge reality and goes supercritical, it ain't gonna be pretty.)

Total votes: 70

Agreed Andy,

... he made the mistake of saying in advance how important it was to be within a second of the lead time when he was testing at Ducati... Stoner went out & banged in a fast lap just to ensure he didn't hit his goal.

Maybe the top 3 will play smart & chuck him a line... a glimmer of hope to stop him retiring... better someone they can beat easily in 2015 than another Marquez!

Total votes: 49

He Already Knows...

Why prolong the inevitable? JB and Rossi knew a long time ago when they returned to Yamaha that Rossi wouldn't be able to win another MotoGP title. I was a Rossi-fan til he kicked JB to the curb the way he did. SAD @ Rossi but I bet JB is now okay with it after the shock has worn off. 6 races? Rossi will know after testing and the 1st race in Qatar that it's time to officially retire from MGP. The real question is: what will Rossi do after retiring from being a rider in MotoGP? If he decides to go to WSB, Yamaha needs to have their all-new R1 ready for 2015 which is possible. Will he manage his moto3 team? Or will he go car racing?

Total votes: 50

How Much Attention Does This Guy Need???

Why doesn't he just make a decision and then let everyone (who still cares) know what he is going to do? Why the drama? Does he really want forums like this to endlessly discuss his performance? Does he need the journalists breathlessly asking "Was that good enough?"

Total votes: 68

A nine time champion gathers

A nine time champion gathers notice when he speaks, no matter the milieu.

Carmelo and Yamaha are smart enough to look forward and do whatever they can to get him in SBK the season after. Yamaha needs the boost there, he'll really help sell bikes. The series itself, though great racing, lacks star power. Love him or hate him, 46 has that going in spades, and would go a long way towards revitalizing it.

He's a guy who can pack the stands and have the viewers watching. SBK needs that.

Total votes: 58

This is what....

... I love about Rossi; he says stuff like this publicly even though it puts him in a vulnerable mental-position with media, other riders and the fans. I appreciate him for the same reason in regards to he and Burgess' separation. He is a completely unique beast in a pretty boring paddock.

I personally hope he and Yamaha can turn the M1 into a late-braking monster so he has a chance next year. Yes, Lorenzo can win races on it, but Rossi ain't Lorenzo and vice versa.

A Rossi that can't use his late-braking mastery against his competitors is a Rossi that can't fight for the win, and rightly so, it's one of his greatest strengths!

Total votes: 72

"late braking monster" The elephant in the room.

No chance of that. Bridgestone destroyed that potential, with their knee jerk reaction to some colder weather, when they produced their 'quick to warm up' tyre, complete with squidgy carcass. Stoner and Pedrosa both said it was rubbish and Rossi couldn't say anything because he was fumbling around on the red slug while his front tyre was maintaining a steady glacial temperature. Meanwhile the silence from Jorge on the subject was deafening as he damn near wet himself with joy. A tyre just for him. The weapon of choice to plunge into the heart of the enemy; the one who rides only on the front wheel and lets the back slide all over the track, Stoner. Stoner departs in disgust after Dorna decide to add 10kg, or some such, a week or so before the first race. Then Rossi comes back to Yamaha, and we never again see that charge into the apex with the front brake threatening to turn the tyre into pulp. The silence from the press, as usual, is deafening. Just the occasional snippet here and there. Don't want to upset Dorna, or Bridgestone, or the people who pay the money. Best to just kowtow and repeat the same old stories. Strike a chord? Anyone home? Or am I the only one who has noticed something is missing from Rossi's repertoire?

Total votes: 72

If you're saying...

... the series is a general mess due to a whole range of decisions, I completely agree with you. But no chance of Rossi being able to charge into the corner the way he'd like, with some clever development from Yamaha? Well it's certainly possible that'll go nowhere. However, since Honda has found a way to give their riders the tools to go absurdly deep on corner entry, Yamaha has a chance of doing the same.

Total votes: 46

Would they?

Yamaha have chosen to develop the M1 around Lorenzo's riding style. This is fine for as long as they choose to focus on one rider AND that rider does not defect to Honda- something he appears to have wished he had done when the opportunity arose.

I personally think Lorenzo will see out his career with Yamaha but if he does leave Yamaha have even bigger problems than there 'lesser' riders struggling to be competitive.

Total votes: 8

does any one think Rossi

would actually be competitive in WSB - on a Yamaha?

Really?

They would need to commit a lot of resources to ensure he was and it would look very very bad for both Rossi and Yamaha if he wasn't. Imagine the finger pointing by both "The Yamaha is a pile of pooh, it's not my fault" vs "Rossi pleaded with us to let him ride in WSB but we told him he was past it, his results are not a reflection of the Yamaha".

Not certain either party would be willing to take the risk.

Total votes: 54

He posted fast times on

He posted fast times on Crutchlow's R1 in 2010 when testing if his leg was healed. His times were better than Crutchlow's:

http://motomatters.com/news/2010/07/12/rossi_laps_brno_under_race_record...

Some sites even reported that he gave feedback to improve engine mapping to the team during that test. I think if Checa could win a WSBK title, Rossi could too. If Biaggi could, so could Rossi. Presumably Yamaha could build a good enough bike. The 2009 R1 won the title with Ben Spies. It depends if Yamaha can/want to spend the money to go racing. The R1 hasn't been seriously updated since 2009 ( due to low demand, most manufacturers haven't updated their litre bikes for a long time). But with rules tending towards stock-like bikes with less mods than currently used in WSBK, cost may not be prohibitive. And there were spy shots of a new R1 shown recently. Everyone thought it was going to be released in 2014...

Total votes: 48

Rossi is too good to go to

Rossi is too good to go to WSB

Retire to the couch,read a book. or play round with a Rally car. Whatever he'll be laughing. 9 times world champion !

Total votes: 53

Rossi will never ride in

Rossi will never ride in WSBK. He will go drive rally cars to get his competitive fix, if he does anything.

The GP riders who have starred in WSBK have gone there to repair what is left of their shattered or derailed GP careers. I have nothing but respect for guys like Checa, Kocinski, Melandri and Biaggi, but they were in WSBK because there was nothing for them in GP anymore, and there was unfinished business. They seized the opportunity like a drowning man tossed a life preserver, and (Biaggi in particular) absolutely rewrote the final chapters of their careers from utter disaster into some of the most inspiring success stories in the sport.

Rossi is the sport's biggest success story already. Nothing that happens in WSBK would add to his legend, but it could help tarnish it, Schumacher-like.

The question isn't whether Rossi could do well in WSBK. The question is, like Stoner, why would he try?

(Apologies for the Stoner reference. I wish these comments had an "ignore" function so I could just skip all of the comments that mention that dude.)

Total votes: 45

Much as I imagine Dorna would

Much as I imagine Dorna would love Rossi to go into WSBK to fill the empty stands, I agree with your assessment, from here I'd ask 'why would he'?

Interesting situation; we shall see.

Total votes: 32

If Rossi does..

..call it a day @ Mugello, it will indeed be very emotional for some.

Not least Cal Crutchlow, who will be doing his best Spitting Image 'Gazza' impersonation out the back, away from the spotlight, in the knowledge that Val's seat was his for the taking had he been a little more patient and less demonstrative.
Had he backed himself, rather than bragged about it.

"Honest Guv..the money had nothing to do with it."

Total votes: 56

With so many riders'

With so many riders' contracts expiring at the end of '14, Cal, if he was smart, would have insisted on adding an EJECT! clause to his contract, just in case this situation came to pass. He not going to be a happy bunny...

Total votes: 34

Perhaps...

...Cal was that smart. I'd guess it wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility for him to have negotiated a "team performance" clause in his contract somehow, or a buyout price.

The real question is whether another team would be willing to buy him out of his contract (if that were the case) in order to acquire his services. I've got to think that if he & the team is performing well he will want to stay, and if he & the team is not performing well, his value will be reduced, even if it was *all the bike's fault*.

All-in-all, I think Cal is an excpetional rider, but there will potentially be other riders of his equal available next year, at a fraction of the cost. His best bet is to stay with Ducati and for the rider & team to make it work.

Personally I would say from a career (financial) perspective, he got the contracts spot-on: he made himself the best available rider at a time that a factory was looking for a rider. Makes sense to me.

Total votes: 34

I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with Cal moving to Ducati per se..I'd just prefer not to be taken for a mug about the motives. I understand the value of money and how short a racers career is.

I live in the UK..we've waited a long time for a top class winner, and I reckon he could have been that man.

There is lots of talk about challenging for a title..that's not going to happen where he's gone despite the 'factory bike' reasoning. He should have worked his socks off at Yamaha and backed himself against Pol. He was offered a factory contract on better money..but wanted assurances over 2015.

Who the hell does he think he is? He's yet to lead a race let alone win one.

Then, I'm told it wasn't for the money and 'real fans' should support him whatever?

Of course, this is all subject to Valentino actually retiring and leaving a spot open..maybe he'll sign a one year deal himself, because even as things stand without getting much closer..who is going to do a better job for Yamaha?

Just disappointed about Cal and that the wait goes on..32 years and counting.

I wish him luck @ Ducati..he's gonna need a skip load of it.

Total votes: 34

Stoner

Now wouldn't a works Yamaha be a nice challenge for Casey to get his teeth into?

After all, he could end up a world champion with 3 different manufacturers. Surely serious 'Greatest of All Time' territory?

Total votes: 49

The fix was in back in 2010

Our local scribe and ex racer Dave Petersen said Rossi would never bounce back as a constant title threat post Mugello 2010. Apparently he was 100% correct. Within Yamaha,George is just too much dog on track for all themes and anthems of the M1. As Rossi once did, Lorenzo owns it. Retirement? Hope he doesn't hang around like another great rider and mate of his,Loris. I for one do not appreciate club 30+ causing bottlenecks at the top level of this sport. Grow old gracefully or Ullyses style...disgracefully, but get the hell out once you have passed your zenith and Rossi certainly has. We don't need Holmes/Ali type 'thrillers' to keep the sport healthy.

Total votes: 44

recanted

Rossi recants the statement that the first races of 2014 will decide his future:

** Nine time world champion Valentino Rossi is now backing down from his widely reported comments where he set a personal deadline in 2014 whereby if he isn't competitive with world champions Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, he may retire from the sport.

Rossi now says that the comments, made on an Italian television program, were "taken out of context" and that he plans to race for years to come.**

This is the level of his self-delusion, that he thinks he can race 'for years to come'. If after 2014 he is still the 4th man as is fairly predictable he will be (though I back Pol to best him on the Tech3 at least once next year) then Yamaha will have some hard decisions to make. I would much rather see Pol, Aleix, Redding, on the Factory M1, someone with time and fight and the ability to exisit on the limit with the Spaniards, than a superstar who simply can't let go of his long time love when facts are staring him in the face.

But, what will Uccio do ? Drive Buses for Italian Metro ?

Total votes: 53

Why should he retire

I don't understand the knockers who say an old racer who can "only finish 4th" should retire!

If Rossi wants to stop fair play he has had a brilliant career; if he wants to continue good on him. I'd love to see him winning again but a few more podiums would keep me happy. I love seeing a good old 'un keeping some of the young hot heads in check, skill over enthusiasm can be quite entertaining...

Total votes: 29

I wish i'd see him race

I wish i'd see him race forever but, come on guys lets just enjoy next year. Consider yourself lucky, being able to watch Rossi racing while you can, while he still alive, and while you alive too! Once, I went to a village in Indonesia. where watching moto gp is imposible... The kids doesn't know Motogp, but knows Rossi. His name is big at a raceworld and don't need dorna to spell the word "legend" for him, and remember, he will even bigger after retirement... just look at stoner :P *run*

Total votes: 22

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