Valentino Rossi to quit MotoGP effective immediately
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
In a shock decision, 9 times world champion Italian rider Valentino Rossi has announced his retirement from MotoGP effective immediately. He will no longer contest the 2014 MotoGP championship and it is rumored that Pol Espargaro will now take his place alongside Jorge Lorenzo in the Yamaha Factory team.

Rossi's snap decision follows a heated weekend meeting with Yamaha team principal Lin Jarvis where an ultimatum was issued and new team arrangements were announced. The meeting was also attended by Yamaha president Hiroyuki Yanagi, CEO and President of Bridgestone Europe Franco Annunziato, and Rossi's long time partner Alessio Salucci.

Rossi described the new arrangements as "unacceptable", which are said to include the construction of a wall in the team garage, as requested by team mate Jorge Lorenzo, and the invocation of a performance clause in his contract.

Lin Jarvis threatened to invoke the performance clause because Rossi had not met his commitment of a win at the opening round in Qatar. Although he fought his way valiantly from 10th position on the 4th row of the grid to battle for 1st position with current title holder Marc Marquez, he eventually succumbed to Marquez's skill and placed second. Lin Jarvis then invoked the performance clause when Rossi complained and accused Franco Annunziato of bias.

As development adviser for Bridgestone, Rossi considered he should have been given preferential treatment with special overnight tyres, as he had with Michelin. When it was revealed that ALL factory riders were given the same choice of tyres for Qatar's race a heated argument ensued that could be heard downstairs in the corporate carpark.

Rossi stormed out of the meeting late on Sunday afternoon and refused to answer questions from reporters who had gathered outside Yamaha Motor Racing's European headquarters in Gerno di Lesmo (MI) Italy. After travelling to his ranch in Tavullia on Monday where he was met by a press contingent, Rossi and Mr Salucci brushed past them refusing to answer any questions and locked themselves inside.

They emerged early this morning with Valentino calling a press conference to make his announcement. When asked what the future held for Valentino Rossi now he smiled, adjusted his cap and said he intended to marry his childhood sweetheart in a civil ceremony in Las Vegas and together they would open a world-wide chain of pizza and pasta restaurants called simply "VR46". He also hinted he had been developing a special sweet using a combination of sour grapes and humble pie.

In other news, Jackie Reeves is said to be devastated.

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