Mike Stevens | Aug 16, 2010

 

Surprising nobody, Italian motorcycle racing champion Valentino Rossi has announced he will ride for Ducati in the 2011 MotoGP season.

Acknowledging the work undertaken at Yamaha since his switch from Honda in 2004, Rossi thanked the Japanese manufacturer for building a bike that took him to four championship wins.

"It is very difficult to explain in just a few words what my relationship with Yamaha has been in these past seven years. Many things have changed since that far-off time in 2004, but especially 'she', my M1, has changed," Rossi said in a statement on his website this week.

"At that time she was a poor middle-grid position MotoGP bike, derided by most of the riders and the MotoGP workers. Now, after having helped her to grow and improve, you can see her smiling in her garage, courted and admired, treated as the 'top of the class'."

Rossi's announcement follows reports earlier this year that Ducati would push to sign Rossi for 2011, although team boss Claudio Domenicalli would not be moved to comment.

“For me if it's a choice between one or the other, personally I have no doubt that we have the rider with the highest talent, so for me the priority is to hold on to Casey. I have no doubts about this, it's my personal priority,” Domenicalli said at the time.

However, with Australian Casey Stoner announcing in June that he would switch to Honda for 2011, Rossi's move to Ducati seemed to be all but certain.

Rossi's partner at Ducati is expected to be American rider Nicky Hayden - meaning, much like F1's McLaren, Ducati will have two championship winners atop its bikes.

 

F1: Klien Eyes Race With HRT In 2010

With just three months and seven races remaining in 2010, Christian Klien is not ruling out making an appearance or two on this year's Formula One grid.

After starting its difficult debut season with Karun Chandhok alongside Bruno Senna, both of the Spanish team HRT's original drivers have been rested in order to make way for the well-funded Sakon Yamamoto.

Japanese Yamamoto now appears to be the permanent occupant of Chandhok's old seat, while Senna insists his contract guarantees him the remainder of the season.

But Klien, another of HRT's contracted drivers, remains hopeful.

"It's hard to say," the 27-year-old told the Austrian daily Kurier.

"All four drivers in HRT are equally placed. It depends entirely on the team," said Klien, who has already made appearances in the F110 car this season during Friday practice in Barcelona and Valencia.

"I will try to be in the car as much as possible to accumulate experience," he said.

Klien, with 48 Grands Prix under his belt with Jaguar and Red Bull, and also test roles with Honda and BMW, is hoping to be a contender for a full HRT race seat in 2011.

"I get along very well with the team's people and also the boss (Colin Kolles)," said the Austrian, who will no longer be involved in Peugeot's Le Mans programme because the French marque wants its drivers to be focused on sports cars rather than F1.

"I am also speaking with other (F1) teams," Klien said.

(GMM)

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