Valentino Rossi's return to racing looks increasingly likely to take place sooner rather than later. After testing a Yamaha R1 at Misano last Wednesday, the Italian is now scheduled to test James Toseland's World Superbike R1 at Brno on Monday afternoon. Rossi is due to fly in to Brno tomorrow, and prepare for the test in the afternoon.
The test will be interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, of course, it will be a measure of Rossi's fitness, who now seems to be pushing hard to return to racing at the Sachsenring next weekend, rather than Brno a month later. Rossi's return is being eagerly awaited by everyone in the MotoGP paddock - and especially by Dorna, who are struggling with falling TV ratings. Rossi will also be using Pirelli tires, rather than the Bridgestones he used at Misano, making a direct comparison between Rossi's times and those of the World Superbike riders much easier, though Rossi is still carrying an injury to his shoulder and is recovering from a broken tibia.
Even more interesting is the fact that Rossi has scheduled a press conference to be held directly after the test. The most likely subject for that press conference is a decision on whether Rossi will race in Germany or not. However, interesting speculation based on an insider tipoff suggests Rossi might be ready to make an announcement on his future as well. Rossi is widely expected to announce his move to Ducati soon, and the press conference on Monday seems like a perfect occasion to do so. Coming on the day after the World Cup - to be contested between Holland and the home of his deadliest rival, Spain - Rossi may see such an announcement as a way to salvage some Italian pride after the Azzurro were knocked out of the World Cup, not even managing to get out of the group stage.
That Valentino Rossi is going to move to Ducati seems almost certain. That he will at least attempt to race in Germany seems almost as likely. Whether he will announce both of these things in Brno on Monday afternoon remains and we will have to wait until then.