Ducati say they have not completed a deal to sign Valentino Rossi despite rumors that the seven-time MotoGP world champion was set to move. The Fiat Yamaha rider is widely expected to join the Italian team next season following Casey Stoner's exit.
Recent news which has appeared on websites has been misreported and must be attributed to the many rumors circulating lately," said a statement. "Whether and when a deal is reached an official press release will be issued.
Former world champion Stoner recently announced he was leaving Ducati at the end of the season to join Honda, which would create the vacancy for the Italian rider and Italian manufacturer to link up. Rossi has just returned to action following a broken leg which looks to have ended any realistic chance he had of retaining his world title this year, as he now lies fifth in the standings.
His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is the leader, 72 points clear of nearest rival Dani Pedrosa. Earlier this week, Ducati chief executive and president Gabriele Del Torchio had been quoted as saying Rossi would be paired with American Nicky Hayden in the company's 2011 MotoGP team, but they have now backtracked.
"Regarding the recent allegations attributed to Mr del Torchio, Ducati states that no agreement has been reached with the riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden for the future Moto GP season, although our interest in these riders remains," said the Ducati statement.
Despite Ducati's coyness, Rossi is widely expected to announce the end of his seven-year association with Yamaha during the next round of the MotoGP championship, at Brno in the Czech Republic on 14-15 August.
Yamaha racing boss Lin Jarvis recently stated he wanted his rider line-up for next year finalised before the Brno race weekend, with World Superbikes champion Ben Spies tipped to be named as Lorenzo's new team-mate.