MotoGP Champ Valentino Rossi Signs New Two-Year Deal With Yamaha
The nine-time world champion will remain with his team until 2020.
MotoGP's most famous rider, Valentino Rossi, is making headlines again today, but not because of something he's done on the track. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team announced Thursday that the nine-time world champion has agreed to a two-year contract extension. This new contract will give him the opportunity to conquer the ever-elusive 10th world championship he's been chasing since 2009.
This year's pre-season testing got off to a bit of a crazy start, with rumors that Honda's golden boy, Marc Marquez, could steal Rossi's number one position at Yamaha. The rumors were squashed when Marquez re-signed a two-year contract with Repsol Honda, and now we know that Rossi will remain at Yamaha at least until the 2020 racing season.
At 39 years of age, Valentino is the oldest man on the grid but is also one of the fittest and most experienced. Clearly, his age wasn't a detractor to Yamaha, which although undisclosed, most likely ponied-up tens of millions of euros to secure the Italian for two more years.
"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," said Rossi.
"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."
"The Doctor," as Rossi is nicknamed, will ride the brand-new Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike along with his teammate, Spaniard Maverick Vinales. "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, " said Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing.