Valentino Rossi’s rode for Honda and Ducati throughout his storied 22-year MotoGP career, but only one manufacturer comes to mind when race fans think of The Doctor — Yamaha. The Italian rider and the Iwata factory dominated the Premier Class during the aughts with four MotoGP World Championship Titles (2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009). Including Vale’s return to Team Blue in 2013-2021, the Grand Prix dream team captured 142 podiums and 56 GP victories.

All good things come to an end though, and number 46 hung up his leathers in 2021, riding into the sunset aboard his cherished YZR-M1. While The Doctor and the bLU cRU have maintained close ties during his retirement years, they finally made the relationship official. On April 29, 2023, Yamaha named Rossi as its new Brand Ambassador.

“Of course, this is a great moment for Yamaha and it‘s also an emotional development for the fans, who I‘m sure miss Valentino‘s presence in MotoGP since he retired from his successful career. Valentino and his M1 shared a special bond,” explained Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis. “We always considered Valentino as ’family‘, and as soon as he expressed his desire to keep using Yamaha bikes and to become a Brand Ambassador, we went to work to make it happen. We are thrilled that Valentino is now officially our ambassador.”

 

Even in his golden years, Rossi favored Yamaha machinery, occasionally riding a YZF-R1 at the track and a YZF450F at his VR46 Moto Ranch. Despite fielding two Ducatis with his Mooney VR46 MotoGP racing team, VR46 collaborated with Yamaha to debut the Master Camp Moto2 Team in 2022. The new multi-year deal only strengthens those bonds, with Team Blue providing bikes for Vale’s “training and leisure” purposes.

“We worked together for many years in the past, so it feels natural. After I retired from MotoGP, I‘ve kept training and riding motorcycles. I was always planning to keep racing in one form or another,” admitted Rossi. “During my MotoGP career, I rode Yamaha bikes as part of my contract. But even after retiring, I kept using Yamaha bikes because I enjoy it. I‘m happy that the agreement is now signed, so Yamaha and I get to work together in this new set-up.”

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