In today’s news that really isn’t news, an interview of Ducati CEO, Gabriele del Torchio, by Bruno de Prato found on Cycle World’s website on August 3rd, reveals the CEO speaking in a matter-of-fact tone about Valentino Rossi’s status as a team member on Ducati’s MotoGP effort.
In the CW article, Del Torchio states that the 2010 racing season “will not bring to Ducati any crown in the sport,” but that he looks “forward to Valentino Rossi teaming up with Nicky Hayden.”
“Nicky is a wonderful person and a great rider. This year, he greatly contributed to improving our Desmosedici racer. Next year, he and Valentino will hone the bike to its ultimate winning potential,” Del Torchio continued in the CW interview.
Rumors have swirled for weeks about Rossi’s departure from his long-standing relationship with Yamaha to join Ducati. Internet communities and race paddocks alike have, at this point, taken the rumors as facts merely waiting for an official announcement from either Rossi or Ducati. Yet neither has made the official proclamation.
Furthermore, an article published August 4th on the BBC’s website sports page reports that Ducati denies a solidified agreement to have Rossi racing red. The BBC article quotes a statement from Ducati that purports to down play further rumors that Rossi has in fact officially signed with Ducati:
“Regarding the recent allegations attributed to Mr. del Torchio, Ducati states that no agreement has been reached with the riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden for the future Moto GP season, although our interest in these riders remains.”
It’s possible this “leak” by Del Torchio is merely Ducati’s attempt to further ramp up anticipation, but if that were the case it would seem like overkill on Ducati’s part. Do Rossi and Ducati fans need more reason to get amped up?
On the other hand, it’s feasible Del Torchio merely had a momentary lapse of reason, and let slip that Rossi is fully on board. However, if we examine the Del Torchio quote, it’s also possible that Cycle World took a leap (albeit a pretty safe one) in proclaiming Del Torchio’s words as confirmation of Rossi’s commitment to Ducati.
Del Torchio says he looks “forward” to Valentino Rossi teaming up with Nicky. This is possibly a not-so-carefully worded response by Del Torchio, as in he hopes and just presumes Rossi will eventually complete the deal, and so phrased it that way. And continues in that same presumptive tone in the rest of his quote. After all, as CEO, Del Torchio likely has many things on his mind, and may not have his finger on the pulse of the day-to-day minutia, like the technicality of Rossi’s ink-on-paper signature.
As for Ducati’s official response to CW’s article (and possibly others), it should be clear at this point in history that the United States isn’t the only society paralyzed by freewheeling litigious actions. Ducati must cover its ass (and back pedal against Del Torchio’s comments) by saying no deal ’tween the company and Rossi is complete until the ink is dry. Regardless of how well talks have gone, and intentions clearly stated.
This is perhaps one of the most tantalizing silly seasons in years. Regardless of when Rossi’s commitment to Ducati is announced officially, it’s easy to imagine the scenario when Rossi rolls out on a Duc in the first race of the season next year: Tens of thousands of Ducati fans will faint from excitement like teenage girls did when the Beatles first came to the U.S.