Yamaha call off Rossi's WSBK plan
|By Matt Beer||Monday, February 2nd 2009, 12:18 GMT|
Valentino Rossi has had to abandon his plan to make a one-off appearance in the Superbike World Championship after Yamaha decided they would be unable to prepare a competitive bike for him in time.
The MotoGP champion said late last year that he wanted to take on recently retired WSBK champion Troy Bayliss, who Rossi hoped would be tempted to return to the series to race against him.
Although Rossi's Yamaha team were supportive of the plan, they have now concluded that they did not have sufficient parts to provide a bike for the Italian.
"Unfortunately this wasn't possible because Yamaha is working on the new R1 motorbike, and there are not many spare parts available yet," said Yamaha team boss Davide Brivio.
"Setting up the bike for Valentino Rossi was technically impossible. Furthermore, because he is Valentino Rossi, we wanted to do things well and eventually we had to come to the conclusion that this wasn't going to be possible."
He said that Yamaha had been very keen to make the one-off outing happen, and did not rule out reviving the plan in the future.
"We were very excited at the idea of riding in a Superbike race," said Brivio. "Valentino influenced us with his desire for new challenges and experiences.
"The idea of going to Qatar and racing in Superbike was very exciting. We'd have done it with great respect and with the idea to have fun, this was our attitude. Valentino belongs to the MotoGP Championship, but he would have tried Superbike just to test himself against those riders, whom he always follows them because they, too, are very good.
"Valentino was very sad when we had to cancel this experience, but we might consider it again in the future. I believe he could be competitive, but we didn't intend to win the race.
"We'd have gone with the idea of doing our best to see what level we could reach in one race. It would have been interesting, like a challenge of the past. I hope we consider it again in the future, I will keep dreaming of it."
Rossi added that he hoped the event could be rearranged next season.
"It was a fun idea, and I would have been very happy," he said.
"I would still like to do a race in superbike and I would like to battle with Bayliss, because he is the world champion. Unfortunately it is a bit of a difficult period and I didn't have the chance, but I hope that in the future, maybe next year, we can do it."