He has been racing for Yamaha for 7 years where he won 4 of his 7 World Championship titles, finishing top in 45 Grands Prix. One of the reasons for leaving Yamaha was that he did not believe that a team could have 2 equal number one riders after the team decided to include Jorge Lorenzo, the new young and upcoming rider into the team. His new team mate in Ducati is Nicky Hayden from the United States.
Hayden’s former partner Casey Stoner has since left the team to join Honda Racing. After Rossi told Yamaha that he does not want to be the ‘other equal number one rider’, he sort of hinted that he would like to join Ducati. He said that his relationship with Yamaha had ‘changed’ since he joined them back in 2004 and calling his bike the M1 a ‘she’, he said that the M1 in particular was the one who underwent the most major change.
He said that when he joined the team, ‘she’ was a ‘poor middle-grid’ bike but now, he has been instrumental in changing ‘her’ into a ‘top of the class’ superbike where one can see “her smiling in her garage, courted and admired”. He also said that his work with Yamaha is done and that there is nothing much to look forward anymore and that it is now the time for him to look forward to new challenges. He said that despite that, he is leaving Yamaha on a happy note and that he will bring with him some very fond and happy memories.
This would be a significant change for the rider as well as the team which will surely have some sort of impact on the championship as well. How he will perform with Ducati would still remain to be seen and the fact that the driver and team are both Italian would make it more interesting than before.