Valentino Rossi says rumours that he is set to retire from MotoGP at the end of the year are not true.
Fevered speculation has surrounded the Italian's position at Ducati and within MotoGP since his outspoken criticism of the Desmosedici following a disappointing opening round in Qatar. Rossi, 10th on the road, said at the time: "I can't ride this bike, I can't make the difference... What can I say?"
Such rumours intensified when the Daily Telegraph ran an article claiming Rossi had told his inner circle that he would not race past the 2012 season.
The seven-time champion has come out to refute such talk however, insisting that it is without foundation.
He tweeted AUTOSPORT's Toby Moody: "Ciao guys, the rumours about my retirement at the end of the year are not true! See you in Le Mans."
Rossi's comments are unlikely to completely end the speculation, with many viewing his manifest desire to win again as evidence he cannot be wholly fulfilled riding for Ducati.
"I came here at the end of 2010 with the idea of racing for two years and try to win with Ducati. But it's hard. Besides, I'd like to stay two more years," Rossi told Motosprint last month.
"If we work well we are able to fight for fifth or sixth place. I'm not excited by that: if you must fight for fifth place then little by little you lose enthusiasm."