(Adds details, quotes)
* Rossi to join Lorenzo at Yamaha
* Ducati finding partner for Nicky Hayden
ROME, Aug 10 Italian motorcycling great
Valentino Rossi will leave Ducati at the end of the MotoGP
season and rejoin Yamaha on a two-year deal, the Japanese-owned
team said on Friday.
"In June, we were able to sign Jorge Lorenzo for the 2013-14
campaign and now we are able to confirm Valentino Rossi for the
next two years," Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin
Jarvis said in a statement.
The 33-year-old nine-times world champion - seven in the
premier class - first joined Yamaha in 2004 and won four MotoGP
titles with the manufacturer before agreeing a two-year deal
with Ducati at the end of the 2010 season.
However, the dream of pairing up Italy's best-known rider
with Italy's top team turned into a nightmare and he finished
seventh on an uncompetitive bike last year.
This season has been just as bad with Rossi lying eighth.
Rossi left Yamaha because he felt having two very strong
riders in one team did not work. His then Yamaha team mate was
2010 champion and current championship leader Lorenzo but the
Italian will now return to the same arrangement.
Spaniard Lorenzo has ridden for Yamaha since 2008 and leads
the current championship by 23 points after 10 races of the
18-race season. Rossi has secured just one podium finish all
"We have run this 'super team' together in 2008, 2009 and
2010 and during that time we achieved the triple crown titles
with Rider, Manufacturer and Team World Championship victories
for three consecutive years," Jarvis said.
"I have no doubt that with the experience, knowledge, skills
and speed of these two great champion riders we will be able to
challenge for many race wins and for the 2013 and 2014 World
Ducati said they were in the process of finalising their
2013 championship lineup having recently renewed their agreement
with American Nicky Hayden.
Rossi, who last won the championship in 2009, has often
been linked with a move to Formula One team Ferrari and pundits
wonder whether Rossi made an error in not switching to four
wheels when he had the chance with the Italians in 2006 and
again in 2009.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer, Terry Daley and Amlan Chakraborty;
Editing by John O'Brien/Mark Meadows)