The reports by Italian broadcaster Sportmediaset that Casey Stoner had allegedly signed for Honda - a report later denied by HRC manager Livio Suppo - unleashed the usual wave of speculation about Stoner's vacant seat at Ducati. The Sportmediaset reports also included suggestions that Ducati were pursuing Valentino Rossi hard, implying the Italian might be close to make the switch that every Italian is begging for, putting Valentino Rossi on a Ducati for 2011.
Every Italian but one, that is. In the Italian sports daily Gazzetto dello Sport, Rossi denied he was considering switching to Ducati. Acknowledging that he had an excellent friendship with Ducati Corse manager and technical guru Filippo Preziosi, he told the Italian paper that he was happy with Yamaha, and "99 percent sure" to stay with the Japanese factory. Preziosi confirmed that there were no serious talks with Rossi, and that Ducati did not expect to be able to sign the Italian, as Rossi had made it clear to them that he was happy with Yamaha.
Preziosi also denied that Casey Stoner had already signed with Honda. He had spoken to Livio Suppo, Preziosi told the Gazzetto dello Sport, and Suppo had assured him that nothing had yet been signed. Preziosi acknowledged that Ducati would face a tough challenge to hold on to Stoner, as Suppo had been open with Ducati about his intention to try and lure the Australian to Honda, and Stoner had already informed Ducati that he was talking to Honda. Ducati would be doing their best to hang on to their star rider, but if they failed in that objective, they could make a move for Rossi's Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. "Lorenzo is an interesting rider," Preziosi told the Gazzetta dello Sport, but pointed out that it is far too early to be making any kind of deals. With silly season starting to get into full swing, Ducati may not have the luxury of patience, though.