Originally Posted by Old Baldy
That's not how it went down at all, IMO. Yamaha did not want to lose Rossi, but they also needed to keep Lolly, and Rossi got his knickers in a knot because they wanted to up Lolly's paycheck and make them even players while Rossi wanted to remain clear #1, so he left. Simple as that.
Yamaha would have LOVED to have kept Rossi and Lolly, and have double insurance to win the manufacturer's title and also take the Rider's championship (BTW, they care much less about Rider's Championships than the manufacturer's champinship, just like any factory)
An acquaintence of mine, who has represented a few racers and raced himself in the 70's & 80's, told me privately that Yamaha had Lorenzo and felt Spies was the next big thing after Jorge, they thought those two were future and Rossi was expendable. Especially after his unknown shoulder condition and broken leg.
His information almost always comes to pass, so I assume he had inside knowledge on this as well that he couldn't tell exactly how or why he knew this. There are many blowhards in the two-wheeled universe but he doesn't seem like one.
I don't disagree that they would have liked to have had all three riders on their terms, but cutting Rossi's pay under Jorge's was going to make him leave. Simple as that. He was not a guy without options.