It's expected that American Ben Spies will take over Rossi's vacated paddock at the Fiat Yamaha factory team, joining 2010 title-leading rider Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo himself told us as much in an interview ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca a few weeks ago. Rossi's teammate at Ducati is very likely to be American rider Nicky Hayden, giving the Italian team a duo of riders who have each won world championships – in Rossi's case, an impressive nine of them, in fact.
Of course, we already knew that current Ducati rider Casey Stoner was transitioning to Honda at the end of the 2010 season, where it's rumored he could share space with both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso. Read Vale's own emotional statement about the move to Ducati, which was made shortly after the end of the latest MotoGP round in the Czech Republic, after the break.
[Source: Valentino Rossi]
"The list of the people that made this transformation possible is very long, but I would like to thank anyway Masao Furusawa, Masahiko Nakajima and 'my' Hiroya Atsumi, as representatives of all the engineers that worked hard to change the face of our M1. Then Jeremy Burgess and all my guys in the garage, who took care of her with love on all the tracks of the world and also all the men and women that have worked in the Yamaha team during these years.
"Now the moment has come to look for new challenges; my work here at Yamaha is finished. Unfortunately even the most beautiful love stories finish, but they leave a lot of wonderful memories, like when my M1 and I kissed for the first time on the grass at Welkom, when she looked straight in my eyes and told me 'I love you!'"