Ducati admit Rossi interest, deny deal done

Milan: MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has not agreed to race for Ducati next season but the Italian team said on Wednesday they were still interested in signing him.

Media reports have been rife that Rossi would sign for Ducati after Casey Stoner said last month he would be leaving for Honda next year.

Several reports have said an announcement on Rossi`s move from Yamaha would come at the Czech Grand Prix on Aug 15. but Ducati have cooled the rumours.

"No agreement has been reached with riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden for the future MotoGP season although our interest in these riders remains," a Ducati statement said.

"Whether and when an agreement is reached, official press releases will be issued."

American Hayden already races for the team.

Rossi fractured his leg before the Italian Grand Prix in June but made a rapid recovery to race again after just a month and a half.

Nicknamed the Doctor, he is arguably Italy`s biggest sports personality and a move to the top Italian team would be welcomed by millions of thrilled countrymen.

Yamaha have said they have made an offer to keep him but Rossi sparked rumours of a departure by entering the last year of his contract without a new deal.

He also said it was awkward being team mate with current championship leader Jorge Lorenzo given they were both so strong.

He has expressed an interest in a career in rallying once he is done with bikes but speculation of a move into Formula One has died down despite tests with Ferrari.

Bureau Report

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