MotoGP

Rossi admits he considered quitting during difficult Ducati years

Valentino Rossi emphasises with Johann Zarco's KTM plight as he reveals he nearly quit his Ducati MotoGP contract early because of his lacklustre results

Valentino Rossi has revealed he seriously considered quitting during his difficult two-year tenure with Ducati in MotoGP but says he is glad he didn’t after returning to success during a second stint at Yamaha.

The nine-time World Champion famously quit Yamaha in favour of a switch to Ducati ahead of the 2011 season, forming an Italian ‘dream team’ that was predicted to yield the success that took his arch-rival Casey Stoner to title glory.

However, Rossi struggled to adapt to the Ducati package with his results over two seasons peaking with just three podiums and delivering zero wins. It led to him rekindling his relationship with Yamaha in 2013, where he has continued to race since.

Having accumulated seven premier class world titles over the 12 seasons prior to his Ducati debut, Rossi admits the lacklustre results against a lofty expectation took its toll, revealing the more laborious elements of the job – such as the travelling and media obligations – began to grate.

“I know that when you are in that [negative] situation it is really difficult because you lose the motivation and also the happiness to start for the race and think positively that you can do well. 

“It is difficult if you don’t have fun to ride the bike, everything becomes heavier - the travels, speaking with journalists, everything… You go in a tunnel. 

“A lot of times I think to stop when I was with Ducati but in the end for me it was a good decision not to give up because if you stop, you don’t have another bike for racing so it is very easy to go out of the business. 

“At the end I did some good races, like Misano, and I take some podiums [so] in the end it was the right decision.”

Rossi surprised by Zarco resignation

Rossi’s retrospective came after he was asked whether he could relate to Johann Zarco’s plight at KTM, the Frenchman having confirmed in the break he would be ending his contract at least a year earlier than agreed. 

Though Rossi sympathised, he admits he was surprised Zarco made the declaration without having another option in the bag for 2020.

“When I was with Ducati because there is a lot of expectation from outside, but especially from myself and Ducati to be competitive and to win but, unfortunately I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike, especially with the front – maybe it was similar with Zarco. 

“When I hear about Zarco I think he has another option for next year but looks like no, so it’s difficult. But I think for everybody it is different. Everybody is a different and if that is his choice, I think he will come back with a competitive bike soon.”

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