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Valentino Rossi Signs Two-Year Contract Extension with Yamaha MotoGP Team

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Defying the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi has responded to the stupendous speed of Marc Marquez (Honda) by altering his riding style (he leans off the bike in turns much more than previously, for example). He is also beating teammate Jorge Lorenzo on a regular basis, lately. Rossi sits tied for second in the championship points with Dani Pedrosa (Honda).

Yamaha has rewarded Rossi with something he has wanted dearly, i.e., a two-year contract extension with the factory MotoGP team through the 2016 series. The 35-year-old Rossi (he will be the oldest rider in the paddock next year following the retirement of Colin Edwards) is riding like a young man in terms of daring, together with the cunning of a seasoned veteran. If he can take a title away from Marquez before retirement, you know Rossi would be ecstatic. This is his goal.

Here is the announcement from Yamaha, together with a long quote from Rossi.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd is delighted to announce that it has signed a new two-year agreement with Valentino Rossi. The nine-time world champion will continue to race with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 MotoGP World Championship seasons.

The announcement comes midway through an excellent season for the MotoGP veteran. Rossi currently sits in second in the standings having taken four second place finishes and a total of five podiums from eight races so far this year.

Lin Jarvis – Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing

“I am very happy that we have concluded the agreement with Valentino for 2015 and 2016. Since his return to Yamaha in 2013 it’s been a very positive experience for everybody involved. After two difficult years ‘away from home’ Valentino returned last year, not only to us but also to his beloved YZR-M1. Fans of racing across the world were happy to see him rediscover his competitive performance and witness him take pleasure in riding and having fun again on two wheels. The “fun factor” is crucial to Valentino to get results – in fact when he first joined us in 2004 one of the most important motivations for his move to Yamaha was his desire to create an environment where he could enjoy racing. His enjoyment is obvious to all who meet him at the MotoGP events or who see him race on TV and is reflected in his excellent race results this year where he is currently in second position in the World Championship. We look forward to the next two and a half years together and it is our intention that Valentino will remain with Yamaha until the end of his sporting career and beyond.”

Valentino Rossi

“I am very happy to announce that I have signed a new contract with Yamaha to continue together in MotoGP for the next two years. I am very proud of this announcement. It’s very important to me because I really enjoy working with my crew and all the guys from the team, both the Japanese and European members that have been with me almost my entire career. It’s great because this was my target; I wanted to continue, I am feeling good and I’m motivated to keep giving my best. I am very happy that I can keep riding my YZR-M1, that has been my love for so many years and will still be my love this year and the following two seasons. A big ‘Thank You’ to everybody, I will try to keep giving the maximum to arrive in front and make good races. Enjoy!”

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41 Comments

  1. TexinOhio says:

    Well just saw that HRC signed Pedrosa to 2 more years. I don’t even know what to say to that.

  2. Pedro Diaz MD says:

    True Champions adapt to the new riding style. Rossi has. Lorenzo is a has been.

  3. Jose Barreira says:

    Two more years of Rossi? I don’t see any problem with that! If it’s good for the sport, it’s good for me! I mean… ALL of us!

  4. PatrickD says:

    It’s as more a marketing strategy than a racing decision. And why not, as racing at this level is about brand and corporate pride.
    But despite Rossi riding as well as he can, he’s not challenging Marquez. Lorenzo is bound up with internal issues this year, but we all know that he can take it to MM, and quite likely will do in races this season. And Pedrosa too, as we saw at Catalunya. Podiums on a Repsol Honda or factory Yamaha are all but given to you, so Rossi’s single win in a season and a half is not a good return in terms of race results.

    • Agent55 says:

      That is some of the most willfully ignorant BS I’ve heard yet this season. Rossi has easily earned the #1 rider accolades so far this season with Yamaha. He’s managed to pressure Marc in several instances, finished a mere 5/10ths behind him in Catalunya and would’ve been a podium threat at Assen despite 14th spot on the grid… had he not gambled with slicks in the last moment of the warmup:) Cannot wait to see Sachsenring even tho it’s a definitive Honda track. Yamaha has a come a long way this year as has Rossi, perhaps they can defy physics and compete at Honda’s home-away-from-home.

  5. Ricardo says:

    I am a big fan of Rossi, great guy on and off the bike. I was sad to see Stoner retire who I think is as great as Rossi, very consistent racers. With this we at least have Rossi for two more exciting years.

  6. Raven says:

    Awesome. It’s so easy to be a fan of his. Great racer… great guy. I’d LOVE to see him claim one more championship.

  7. Brian says:

    Repsol will eventually sign Pedrosa. Pedrosa burned Movistar years ago so I don’t think the signature title sponsor is going to give up their money to have Pedrosa ride the bike. Prediction? a Tech 3 graduates to Factory Yamaha, Lorenzo wants cash so he takes Crutchlow’s position. Crutchlow? Suzuki???

  8. Starmag says:

    Rossi is amazing, like a cat with nine lives. As a bonus, he seems like a nice guy. It seems he made the right decision to jettison the arrogant Jeremy Burgess.

  9. Raivkka says:

    If Jorge goes to Honda, and Yamaha wants Rossi to be happy in his #1 position, they would bring in Nicky as the 2nd rider.

    • GKS says:

      I believe that Yamaha would go with an up and coming younger rider, such as one of the Espargaro brothers, to develop into a team leader after Rossi is gone.
      As much as I like Nicky and admire his acomplishments, his record since his title season does not warrent a top factory team ride.

    • Vrooom says:

      Scott Redding has been waxing Nicky regularly, he’s not going to get a factory bike.

  10. Brinskee says:

    Nice to see him stay at Yamaha for his final two seasons. I am a little sad that he didn’t go back to Honda and have the best possible chance of another title (in terms of best possible equipment) but who knows… Young Marc might slip up and let Rossi be king one more time. How amazing would that be?

    I look forward to watching every one of his final races. What a guy.

  11. Silver says:

    Oh God please let Lorenzo go elsewhere so Rossi can get his best shot at beating Mark.

  12. ChrisRR says:

    it’s tough for a Rossi fan like myself to admit the torch has been passed, but i can’t argue with the numbers Marquez has put up. Still i think Rossi is riding equal to or better than the rest of the field.

  13. Crug says:

    Sooo, if 99 goes repsol…who will be Rossi’s partner??

    • Scarecrow800 says:

      Maybe they could bring in Marquez as Rossi’s partner. No, not Marc Marquez … Alex Marquez.

    • TexinOhio says:

      Well it sounds like Crutchlow might try to opt of his second year with Ducati to go somewhere else. Not to say Yamaha would jump at bringing him back considering his attitude and behavior toward Yamaha as a factory before.

      I want to see what happens to Pedrosa as he seems to be little odd man out this time. Please don’t bring in Pedrosa, just tuck him in his carry on bag and send him home.

  14. Norm G. says:

    observe who’s first of the Yamaha pairing to renew their contract.

    • VLJ says:

      Despite all of #99′s utterances to the contrary, Jorge may in fact still be entertaining thoughts of supplanting Dani on the Repsol Honda team.

      • Brian says:

        Hard to see Repsol and HRC putting a potential threat to the Marquez show on the other bike.
        I think they will keep Dani where he is. Decent money and good for the points and constructors/team titles, but won’t have too much protest to being second fiddle. Sort of like when Dovi was on the team a few years back.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Jorge may in fact still be entertaining thoughts of supplanting Dani on the Repsol Honda team.”

        good luck. (Albanian phone accent)

    • Dave says:

      Re: “observe who’s first of the Yamaha pairing to renew their contract.”

      I’d bet it’s been a long time since Rossi’s largest chunk of income was his primary racing contract. It was probably a fairly easy deal to work out. Lorenzo wants max $$ with very little leverage.

      Besides,as I’ve always said, “Rossi losing is worth more than just about anybody else winning.”. He’s a celebrity much larger than anyone else in moto racing, more comparable to those in more mainstream sports.

  15. TimC says:

    “If he can take a title away from Marquez before retirement, you know Rossi would be ecstatic. This is his goal.”

    That would be highly unusual – and [comment awaiting moderation] AWESOME.

  16. mickey says:

    CHA-CHING. (sound of Rossi’s bank account growing) I’d say you’ve earned it.

    Congrats Valentino. Now try and keep the pup in sight!

  17. Bob says:

    Awesome guy, Valentino.

  18. Blackcayman says:

    You call that a muffler? – Nope….

    Moto GP Bikes make the most beautiful, horrifyingly shockingly loud and spine-tingling shriek as they get on the gas… Its impossible not to have a visceral reaction.

    Congratulations to Rossi and his loyal fans. He’s obviously having fun, making $$$ and chasing the …….. dream.

    • goose says:

      On the sound:

      I’ve hear MotoGP bikes and I’ve heard last year’s V-8 F1 cars. The bikes sound like toys next to the old F1 cars. A 2.4 liter V-8 spinning 18,000 RPM (limited by rule, they were turning 20K RPM) making 750-800 HP beats a 4 cylinder turning about the same speed making (maybe) 250 HP. A pack of F1 cars hurt my ears even through my -30 dB ear muffs.

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