Yamaha announced the signing of Valentino Rossi to a two-year contract extension that will see the nine-time World Champion with the factory MotoGP team through the 2016 season.
“It’s great because this was my target; I wanted to continue, I am feeling good and I’m motivated to keep giving my best,” says Rossi. “I am very happy that I can keep riding my YZR-M1, that has been my love for so many years and will still be my love this year and the following two seasons. A big ‘Thank You’ to everybody, I will try to keep giving the maximum to arrive in front and make good races. Enjoy!”
The contract extension comes midway through what has so far been a resurgent season for Rossi. After two difficult seasons with Ducati and a solid fourth-place finish last year in his return to Yamaha, Rossi has been one of the most consistent rider not named “Marc Marquez” this season. After eight rounds, Rossi is tied for second place with Honda‘s Dani Pedrosa, but holds the tie-breaker because he has more second-place finishes.
“Since his return to Yamaha in 2013 it’s been a very positive experience for everybody involved,” says Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing. “After two difficult years ‘away from home’ Valentino returned last year, not only to us but also to his beloved YZR-M1. Fans of racing across the world were happy to see him rediscover his competitive performance and witness him take pleasure in riding and having fun again on two wheels.
Jarvis points out Rossi appears to be having fun again, showing more of the cheekiness that helped make him one of the most popular racers in the world.
“The ‘fun factor’ is crucial to Valentino to get results – in fact when he first joined us in 2004 one of the most important motivations for his move to Yamaha was his desire to create an environment where he could enjoy racing,” says Jarvis. “His enjoyment is obvious to all who meet him at the MotoGP events or who see him race on TV and is reflected in his excellent race results this year where he is currently in second position in the World Championship. We look forward to the next two and a half years together and it is our intention that Valentino will remain with Yamaha until the end of his sporting career and beyond.”
Jarvis’ attention now focuses on Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, who has had a disappointing season so far. Lorenzo sits fifth overall in the championship, with less than half the number of points as Marquez and 10 points behind Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.