MotoGP boss: ‘Important’ Valentino Rossi is racing on

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Never underestimate the power and influence of nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi.

Marc Marquez might be rapidly emerging as the new poster boy of MotoGP with a string of record-breaking performances.

But racing’s number one box office attraction remains Italian icon Rossi.

That’s why MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta was thrilled recently when the 35-year clinched a new two-year contract to ride a factory Yamaha YZR-M1 until the end of the 2016 world championship.

Rossi has been the talisman for MotoGP ever since he moved to the premier class with Honda back in 2000 and Ezpeleta told MCN: “It is so important to have him for another two years. I spoke with Valentino and he is very happy to go on. Some people have said he is here just to make money but in the first race in Qatar he was on the podium and he has been strong all season. When he told me he was renewing with Yamaha I could see in his face that he wanted to stay in MotoGP."

"Personally Valentino thinks he can win more races and maybe a championship. The age in Valentino’s head is not the same as his body. Physically he is no worse than five years ago, so it is his mentality that is the most important to give him the performance. Mick Doohan said to me many times that the most important thing in this sport is the mind and nothing else. I still see that Valentino has the mentality to win and believes in himself that he can do it.”

Rossi broke the premier class record in the last race at Silverstone with his third in the British GP marking his 246th MotoGP race.

A fourth place or higher in his home race at Misano on Sunday and he will become the first rider in history to score 5000 points or more.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt