Valentino Rossi has denied reports that he is looking for an exit from Ducati despite an angry interview with the press following the Qatar Grand Prix.
Rossi, who has struggled with the Ducati ever since moving to the team at the start of last season, sparked feverish rumours about his future after an angry interview with an Italian media company, in which he slammed the Ducati team for not following his feedback and for failing to solve some long-standing problems.
After finishing a disappointing 10th in Qatar, behind the Ducati’s of teammate Nicky Hayden and satellite rider Héctor Barberá, and later branded the Desmosedici as “unrideable”.
“The problems with the bike haven’t changed, and neither have my requests,” he told Mediaset. “It’s unrideable, and it doesn’t make much difference which track we’re on. I cannot brake hard into the corners, and these are problems that you cannot solve by set-up alone. I cannot ride this bike, I can’t make the difference.
He added: “I can’t even keep up with Hayden, and I used to be faster than him. Probably we are going worse than last year.
“This Ducati has problems. I have given indications over where to intervene but Ducati did not follow the direction that I indicated and we didn’t solve our problems. I’m not an engineer and can’t do anything about it. At least the positive is that with this frame I don’t crash. And that’s something.”
But as speculation grew that Rossi was looking for a way out of his “dream” partnership with the Italian brand, the former world champion has denied a rift, claiming that he is committed to the Ducati.
“We will keep trying at every race; I will stay with Ducati. We will do everything we can to make our pairing successful,” he told Italian press at a car racing event at Monza.
Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio added, “It is too early to talk of a divorce. Valentino was just letting off steam,” he told the Italian media.