After signing Maverick Viñales until the end of 2020, Movistar Yamaha has just secured the services of nine times world champion Valentino Rossi, also on a two-year agreement. The italian rider, 39 years old, will start his 23rd racing season this weekend with the opening round of MotoGP in Losail, Qatar.
The link between Rossi and Yamaha Racing has proven to be very successful for 13 years now, and both parties expect to achieve more milestones in the next two years.
Last year Rossi reached the podium in MotoGP for a total of six times, including a victory in the GP of the Netherlands, and both Rossi and the Movistar Yamaha team will work hard so that the italian veteran is able to fight for the title in 2018 and the following seasons.
For Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Racing, “The confirmation of Valentino‘s two-year extension of his agreement with Yamaha is a great way to start the 2018 season that kicks off officially on Friday in Qatar. Despite his many years in the sport and his 39 years, Vale is as committed today as he ever was and there is no doubt he is still a top rider, as witnessed most recently by his second position in the final pre-season test here in Qatar. Now it is our job as a team and a factory to give him the best possible YZR-M1 to let him fight for race wins and championship success. Having both Maverick and Valentino now signed for 2019-20 allows us to just focus all of our energy on the 2018 season and to be strong contenders at every single MotoGP Grand Prix. It promises to be a highly competitive season and like all the fans – we in Yamaha are truly excited to go racing on Sunday night here in Losail”.
As for Valentino Rossi, this agreement also comes in a great moment, after a good pre-season, specially in the last testa t Losail, where the italian showed an excellent pace
“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. 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”.
If you want to know everything about Valentino Rossi and his racing career click here .
As for the future, rumors seem to point to Valentino Rossi starting a MotoGP team when he retires, probably in the end of this new contract with Yamaha. He already said that he doesn’t want to retire and move away from this sport, so everyone expects him to start a MotoGP team. If that really happens, Yamaha Racing will probably suply the bikes to this new VR46 team in MotoGP.