Valetnino Rossi will race for two more years with the Movistar Yamaha team in MotoGP. At Qatar, Yamaha announced that they had signed a new deal with the 39-year-old Italian, which will see him racing through 2020.
The only surprise about the announcement is that it took so long to announce. Rumors of Rossi’s imminent signing had been doing the rounds of the paddock since the Sepang test, but it took until the eve of the 2018 season to make the new contract public.
What is interesting in the press release is that the language Rossi uses gives absolutely no hint of a possible retirement at the end of 2020. The tone of Rossi’s quote suggests he will keep on racing for as long as he is competitive. So far, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Rossi’s new contract brings the total of signed riders to 7 for the 2019 season.
Rossi and Maverick Viñales will keep the Movistar Yamaha team unchanged, Marc Marquez will stay at Repsol Honda, Cal Crutchlow still has a contract with LCR Honda, as does Xavier Simeon at Avintia and Franco Morbidelli at Marc VDS, while Pecco Bagnaia will be making the move up to MotoGP in 2019 with Pramac Ducati.
“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,” said Valentino Rossi. “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.”
Source: Yamaha Racing; Photo: MotoGP
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.