Nine-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi will continue racing in MotoGP for at least another two seasons after 2018, as he signs a contract extension that will see him in the premier class until at least 2020.
This latest announcement now completes the Japanese manufacturer line-up and means that despite speculation, Johann Zarco will not be promoted to the Factory team. It will also mean that after 2020, it will be Valentino Rossi’s longest stint at any manufacturer in the premier class, as his previous reign at Yamaha was seven seasons. This latest deal will see him complete 15 premier class seasons with the firm.
“When I signed my last contract with Yamaha, in March 2016, I wondered if that would have been the last contract as a MotoGP rider. At that time, I decided that I’d take that decision during the following two years. During the last two years I came to the conclusion that I want to continue because racing, being a MotoGP rider, but especially riding my M1, is the thing that makes me feel good,” began the Italian.
“Having the opportunity to work with my team, with Silvano, Matteo and all my mechanics, and working with all Japanese engineers, Tsuji-san, and above all Tsuya-san, is a pleasure – I’m happy.
“I want to thank Yamaha – Lin Jarvis and Maio Meregalli in particular – for their trust in me, because the challenge is difficult: being competitive until I’m 40 years old! I know it’s going to be difficult and it requires a lot of effort from my side and a lot of training but I’m ready, I am not lacking in motivation, that’s why I’m signing for two more years.”
‘The Doctor’ still has one year remaining on his contract from 2016, so his extension is for 2019 and 2020. He will be alongside Spaniard Maverick Vinales in the Factory team. Other riders to have already been signed are Marc Marquez, who remains at Repsol Honda and Francesco Bagnaia, who will be promoted to the Pramac Racing Ducati team.
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