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Valentino Rossi waded into the in­tense spec­u­la­tion about his team­mate, Jorge Lorenzo’s fu­ture at the open­ing round of the cham­pi­onship, telling me­dia that there would be no chance of Lorenzo leav­ing Yamaha – be­cause that de­ci­sion would take ‘big balls!’

But with Rossi’s well-known love of peer-to-peer mind games, it could well be that the Ital­ian’s moves are noth­ing more than a re­versepsy­chol­ogy ploy to en­sure Lorenzo does leave, there­fore ce­ment­ing his own fu­ture within the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer.

Rossi re­vealed that he’s signed an­other two-year deal with Yamaha in Qatar mean­ing he will stay with the team un­til the end of 2018. Yamaha would no doubt look to re­place Lorenzo with a younger ta­lent, a move that would firmly give Rossi back his sta­tus as num­ber one rider within the squad.

Rossi has been quick to ex­press his dis­plea­sure at the cur­rent ar­range­ment within Yamaha, say­ing that he be­lieved the team’s fo­cus at the end of the 2015 sea­son on not one but two ti­tle con­tenders within its ranks was a key fac­tor in de­lay­ing the devel­op­ment of the new 2016 M1 ma­chine.

There’s also the Ital­ian’s own per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with Lorenzo, which has ranged from frosty to pos­i­tively arc­tic. So it could very well be a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to rid him­self of his team-mate for his fi­nal two years in Mo­togp.

‘ To sign for Du­cati you need big balls, so I think Lorenzo will stay at Yamaha’

Mas­ter of mind games, Rossi would love a Lorenzo switch Viñales could make Yamaha switch

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