MotoGP: Valentino Rossi Announces Two More Years with Yamaha 37-year-old, nine-time World Champion suggests he’s still got a few more years worth of racing in him, while his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, admits he’s taking time to decide where he wants to go.
Valentino Rossi may have just turned 37 years old, but the nine-time World Champion has signed a new two-year contract with Yamaha. Meanwhile, his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, is taking his time to decide where he will ride in 2017 and beyond.
On the day of the first qualifying session of the 2016 MotoGP season, and just one day before the start of the opening round of the World Championship, Valentino Rossi announced that he’d signed a new contract with Yamaha. The announcement came at a time when all six of the top riders from Yamaha, Honda, and Ducati factory teams were set to have their contracts expire at the end of the year.
“I am very happy to announce that Yamaha and I have extended our contract and will continue working together in MotoGP for the next two years,” said Valentino Rossi. “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.”
Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director, added to the conversation, saying that, “I believe the confirmation of the extension with Valentino will be music to the ears of Yamaha fans and MotoGP fans around the world. I cannot think of a better way to start a new season than for both parties to make this strong commitment. From Valentino‘s side a statement of commitment to the sport he loves and towards the Yamaha brand; from Yamaha‘s side a confirmation of the recognition to the rider that has brought us four MotoGP World Championships and who remains so passionate about his sport and is still highly competitive, as proven by his second place finishes in the last two seasons. ”
Rossi is, of course, only half of the team puzzle, and Yamaha is still working on an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo.
“We prepared the proposal for Jorge according to his request to receive an offer before the start of the season,” said Lin Jarvis, and “because in our team the riders have equal treatment, we prepared also one for Valentino. He signed while Jorge took time. The negotiations went on from several weeks but the agreement was given this week. This is the best possible offer we could have done.”
Lin Jarvis made it clear that Yamaha will not let Lorenzo have it all his way, either.. “There is a deadline for Jorge, but I can’t say when. I’m happy with the proposal we made. It’s a two-year program and we hope that he will continue with Yamaha. Jorge is a guy who needs to evaluate all the pluses and minuses, so I imagine he is considering all the possible scenarios. Of course, Ducati is a possibility because they are looking for a top guy to make the next level, while Honda has already their top gun.”
Lorenzo’s management confirmed that Jorge has received the best offer in his career, but despite this, he is taking time to make a decision. According to paddock rumors, Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati have never been so close. Gigi Dall’Igna, the General Director of Ducati Racing, has never hidden his admiration and special relationship with “Giorgio,” as he calls the Spaniard, with whom he won two world titles in the 250cc class with Aprilia.
Lorenzo wasn’t quiet on the subject, of course, and after claiming the first pole position of the 2016 season confirmed that he had an offer from Yamaha a week ago, but that he wants to wait before accepting. “I’m in the best possible position in this moment. I’m the reigning World Champion and one of the fastest riders, and I prefer to wait.”
Regardless of his decision, at least now we know who will be on one side of the box for the next two years.