Valentino Rossi has dismissed rumors that he could make a shock Ducati switch in 2010, but says he has yet to commit to a long-term offer from Yamaha.
The world champion has already re-signed for Yamaha for a further year, and there had been speculation that he could look elsewhere after that. But recent reports in the Italian press claimed Rossi had begun talks about joining a new additional works Ducati operation next year, financed by the Italian marque's major backer Philip Morris, and also involving his long-time engineer Jerry Burgess and other current Yamaha personnel.
Rossi laughed off the suggestions, and said that not only was he contractually bound to Yamaha for 2010, he was also very happy to stay.
"Some things make me smile," he was quoted as saying by Repubblica. "Sometimes rumors are based on the truth, but not in this case. I don't even understand how these rumours started, maybe they're based on false hopes. Many would be happy for me to move to Ducati, but there's no truth in it.
"In 2010 I'm staying at Yamaha 100 percent for two reasons I care to clarify. First of all, I have contractual obligations with Yamaha: my contract ties me for next year too, and I can't see any way out. The second reason is even more important: I have no intention to leave Yamaha in 2010. And besides, we are already talking about the future."
He said Yamaha MotoGP boss Masao Furusawa had already made him an offer for 2011 and beyond, but that he was sticking to his plan of deciding his future next summer.
"In Portugal, Furusawa put on the plate the idea of an extension by practically asking me to end my career in Yamaha," Rossi revealed. "It was an offer that pleased me.
"As I said in Misano already, I'll decide my future only in June next year. That's because, before taking certain decisions, I must understand whether I still want to carry on racing bikes or if I want to change path."
Rossi did not rule out an eventual move to Ducati, but reiterated that a 2010 switch was out of the question.
"[Ducati] could be one of the options," he said. "But that possibility doesn't exist before 2011."