Valentino Rossi Rumored to Be Yamaha's Luxury WSBK Test Rider

Rossi and the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 1 photo
Photo: Yamaha
The silly season in MotoGP has ended for quite some time, the rumor mill has not stopped, and here's the latest whispers in the paddock, albeit we're talking about the World Superbike paddock this time.
As you know, and we reported earlier on multiple occasions, Yamaha will make a comeback to the WSBK championship in 2017, after a 4-year leave. The house of Iwata is, in fact, o a true spree, with the massive support it offers to the newest US road racing series, MotoAmerica and the extensive involvement in multiple other sports.

The rumors see Yamaha back to WSBK next year with chips manufacturer Pata as the title sponsor, and a duo of ambitious riders, Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli. Pata has been involved with Honda previously, but is also a personal sponsor for Valentino Rossi,s his half-brother Luca Marini and for Biccolo Bulega.

Even more, Pata is also believed to become a sponsor for Rossi's VR46 Riders Academy. Multiple ties are strengthening between Pata and Yamaha, and it looks like Rossi is in the middle, in a good way.

Paddock whispers see Rossi as one of the main test riders for the YZF-R1 Yamaha will field in 2016 in WSBK, and even more, having a different development team from Crescent. If this separate structure turns out to be more than a rumor, then the next legitimate question is, of course, why?

The rules of the WSBK championship have imposed very strict limits as to how far can the development of a bike go, and frankly, it's not that far. Fine-tuning a WSBK beast is more a game of finding the sweet spot for a certain rider, in a certain physical form, and with a specific riding style, for the next circuit.

And if Rossi will develop the R1 with a separate team-inside-a-team, does this mean we might get to see him as a wildcard in World Superbike? Or maybe hanging his MotoGP leather in 2017 and going SBK?
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