Rossi signs new two-year Yamaha deal

Movistar Yamaha's association with Valentino Rossi will extend into 2020 after the MotoGP icon signed fresh terms.

Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi   -  Getty Images

Six-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has signed a fresh two-year deal with Movistar Yamaha, it has been announced.

Rossi joined Yamaha in 2004 on the back of successive MotoGP crowns with Honda having already won world titles at 125cc, 250cc and 500cc.

The Italian's last success came in 2009, while he picked up a trio of runners-up finishes between 2014 and 2016 with Marc Marquez establishing himself as the dominant force on the circuit.

Rossi will begin his 13th campaign with Yamaha – after a two-year switch to Ducati – at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix this weekend and the 39-year-old is set to race through to at least the end of 2020, although he admits he was unsure if this new deal would materialise.

"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," he said.

"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."