Valentino Rossi has signed a deal with his Movistar Yamaha team to extend his current contract until 2018, adding two more years and looking set to remain in MotoGP until he is at least 39 years old.
The Doctor had been rumoured to be close to a deal for months, as his connections with the Japanese factory grew ever-closer, including a new deal for his VR46 company to provide their merchandising and teamwear.
However, at 37 years old, Rossi had also admitted that his cohoices would probably be between remaining with Yamaha and leaving the sport. But, with a strong pre-season to help convince him that he will be just as strong in the future as he was in 2015, the Italian says the decision was easy.
“I am very satisfied with this decision, because it has always been my plan to compete in motorsports for as long as I can be competitive and find it enjoyable at the same time. Ever since I returned to Yamaha in 2013 I have felt like I am home again and this showed in the results.
“I get great enjoyment out of working with my crew and the rest of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team. Their support for me has known no limit and I want to thank them sincerely for that. I‘m feeling greatly motivated to keep riding my YZR-M1 for the best results possible, this year and the following two seasons.
“I also want to say a big 'Thank You' to my fans, who are always behind me every step of the way, making the races extra special. I will keep pushing at each and every Grand Prix so we can all keep enjoying MotoGP for more years to come!”