Ducati Won’t Win Again Until 2014

Stoner at Phillip Island

The departure of Valentino Rossi from Ducati to Yamaha at the end of this year means the 9 times champion is sure of at least one thing – Ducati won’t win another MotoGP race until 2014.

No-one is sadder than Ducati News Today to see the spectacle of abject failure that is the experience of the two seasons of Valentino Rossi at Ducati.  When we posted about Vale signing for Ducati we subtitled the story as ‘Ducati Snag the Greatest of all time’.  Like almost everyone else we expected great things from the man and team that had turned the Yamaha from a nail to a multiple championship winner.

In fact we listed the move of Rossi to Ducati as the 6th most significant moment in modern Ducati racing history right after, ahem, Casey Stoner winning the 2007 MotoGP championship for Ducati in the first ever championship of the now defunct 800cc era.

As the guys who predicted Rossi would move to Ducati (see ‘Why Valentino Rossi will Finish his Career on a Ducati’) in 2009 his impending return to Yamaha for 2013 is tough to take.  It must have been a very tough call to make too.

Just before making his decision, Rossi pointed out that he had to take a risk with incomplete information since the Yamaha offer was there and Ducati could not yet say what impact Audi ownership, expertise and investment could do to provide him with what he wanted – a race winning MotoGP motorcycle.

“It is a big risk also because I can’t wait to make the decision. If not (Andrea) Dovizioso becomes very angry (laughs). But at the same time the problem is to wait for Audi and Ducati. It is very early to understand who will come to help Ducati, so I have to make a bet without seeing the situation very clear.”

link: Rossi Must Make Ducati Decision Soon

In the end Rossi took the difficult decision to leave and join Yamaha with all that means for his short-term and potentially long term reputation.  If Rossi had stayed at Ducati he would have earned a larger salary and been able to continue to explain away mid-pack results because of the recalcitrant Bologna bullet.  At Yamaha he will make less (hardly a hardship for him) and critically be publicly measured against Jorge Lorenzo on equal machinery.  

Has Rossi still got it?  We will all get a first part of the answer the day after the final race of the season when he (presumably) gets to ride a Yamaha once again for the first time in 2 years.  On his first ride on the Ducati he was only able to post the 15th fastest time.  What is clearly implied by his decision though is that Valentino must have decided that even with Audi involvement there is no chance of Ducati being able to build a race winning bike next season.

When we argued 3 years ago the case for Rossi to move to Ducati we spoke about his ambition to surpass his hero and fellow Italian Giacomo Agostini.  We wrote:

Vale now stands at 103 career GP wins, almost double that of Mick Doohan and 19 short of Ago’s 122. With Rossi’s winning percentage this gap could be closed in as little as 2 or 3 more seasons. Now that his car racing aspirations seem to have waned it looks increasingly likely that the GOAT will want to become the undisputed GOAT. Key question. On what machinery?

link: Why Valentino Rossi will Finish his Career on a Ducati – Part II


Rossi today has 105 wins, 17 short of Ago.  We still don’t know if he will ever surpass Ago’s record or take a 10th title.  We do know however what machinery he will do it on.  Like his hero before him, Vale now seems destined to finish his career on a Yamaha.

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20 Responses to “Ducati Won’t Win Again Until 2014”

  1. Yeah, unless u hire stoner again.

  2. I grew tired of Rossi blaming everything but himself for hislack of performance. He coulf not adapt to the Ducati – that is a simple fact, but with that Rossi’s aura was also defrocked. He left Yamaha already being out performed by Lorenzo, and he failed utterly at Ducati. Even if (and it IS a big if) he wins consistently at Yamaha, the obvious response will be “so what, he had already done THAT!” That alone – going bscks the surest

  3. Tough decision I’m sure… Plus they will always welcome him back with open arms (wallets) once they get a bike up to spec!

  4. We shall see. All this proves is that Rossi was unable to master the Ducati – and by quiting sounding the death knell of the myth of his own invincibility. Maybe Stoner was right when in a moment of juvenile frustration he said Rossi’s ambition out weighed his ability. VALE Vale the Goat? Methinks Ago sleeps well tonight.

  5. Get out of Moto GP all together. It’s the most boring racing series anyway and this pathetic CRT doesn’t make it any more interesting. Focus on WSBK thats where Ducati’s heritage is and where it belongs.

  6. Yeah agree with Peter and Doc Rutherford, Rossi got too big for his boots and everyone who knows anything about bikes know Ducati are unique in the way they ride and if you cannot ride it then you end up like Rossi now, if you can hack it you end up like Bayliss, Foggy, Stoner in other words shit hot, but either way Peters right GP is boring as shit now its WSB an BSB along with all the road races that are brilliant to watch now

  7. I own a Ducati not because Rossi ride a Duc moto GP, but because Ducati won so many Wsbk. And gave me so much passion winning each of it. Stoner took the right decision…Moto GP is so boring now that I stop watching it.

  8. I agree with everyone else, Moto GP is boring and unexciting. I watch it but do not come even close to enjoy it. On the other hand, WSBK, Moto 2 and both AMA divisions are exceptionally fun and exciting.

  9. There’s no reason to celebrate the brand as of last week. These past two years have been horrible.Even Preziosi knows his career is on the line here I’m sure! Is 260hp too much for a bike to take? Can traction control fail? Does the Indy track suck? We now have some of the answers.

  10. Ducati have called for the help of furisawa…it says it all, filippo need to step aside and leave the steering wheel to others

  11. Or maybe 2015…

  12. The motogp team has waited too long to think outside the box. They have much to do with development that makes their test riders more important than ever. They seem to be at least a year behind the other teams. Team management is to blame, not necessarily nicky or vali.

  13. i wish casay climb back on the duc and let see rossy his ass , i know he would be able doing it, rossy sucks

  14. We must stop comparing this Ducati to what Casey rode.
    It’s a very different bike. From the most obvious, an alloy frame and a larger engine and no doubt a different electronic package as well.

    The competition was also at a different place back then too.

    I am sad that Jeremy and Rossi could not finish the very challenging job they had but understand their decision to move back to Yamaha.

    Things must have been very different for them at Ducati and the future for the team in MotoGP is a bit of a concern.

    Best of luck Nicky and Dovi. Let’s hope the German influence from Audi provides better development and perhaps management too.

  15. Sort the MOTOGP bike please, so it isnt always trying to chuck its rider down the road !

  16. Ducati may never see a Motogp win again… and no-one should care..hanging a Duc engine in an alu frame? . As said so many times before : WSBK is where they belong.. from the first impressions : if they don’t start focussing 100% in the new Pani wsbk bike , domination as they have always known it will be all but certain. Never before has the competition been so strong, capable and plentyfull. now, all brands competing can win… BMW, KAWA, HONDA, APRILIA,

    ducati better get their act together! not winning GP? who cares.. but not winning WSBK no that would really hurt…

  17. I remember the words from Hayden when he first rode the duc:”I don’t no what they
    paying Stoner but they should double it because he became champion with this monster”.
    I know who is de best racer in MotoGP , and next year he will be gone.Good for Rossi,now he will not have to be afraid he gets beaten up again.

  18. And about WSBK , Ducati is still beating all brands with an old bike.
    Checa is now testing the bike on Moscou Raceway and is has set the fastest time.The Pani almost won his first race in stock 1000.

  19. Stoner’s wins on the Ducati became less and less frequent after 2007. There are some inherent engineering issues with the bike and as soon as Stoner was offered a competitive ride….he took it. I think the biggest issue at Ducati is that they don’t have the resources to compete with Honda & Yamaha factory teams. I’m sure Audi will do a careful analysis in the coming months and it would not surprise me at all if Ducati focuses all their resources in WSBK.

  20. every rider even stoner wants to get a competitive bike among the other,if ducati itself still cant make sure that they can make a good bike with Audi’s help in two years, then WHY MUST STAY?? the only one hope for a team with this kind of mentality is just pick the cheapo youngster and roll the dice..just go back to WSBK