Valetnino Rossi will race for two more years with the Movistar Yamaha team in MotoGP. At Qatar, Yamaha announced that they had signed a new deal with the 39-year-old Italian which will see him racing through 2020.
The only surprise about the announcement is that it took so long to announce. Rumors of Rossi's imminent signing had been doing the rounds of the paddock since the Sepang test, but it took until the eve of the 2018 season to make the new contract public.
What is interesting in the press release is that the language Rossi uses gives absolutely no hint of a possible retirement at the end of 2020. The tone of Rossi's quote suggests he will keep on racing for as long as he is competitive. So far, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Rossi's new contract brings the total of signed riders to 7 for the 2019 season. Rossi and Maverick Viñales will keep the Movistar Yamaha team unchanged, Marc Marquez will stay at Repsol Honda, Cal Crutchlow still has a contract with LCR Honda, as does Xavier Simeon at Avintia and Franco Morbidelli at Marc VDS, while Pecco Bagnaia will be making the move up to MotoGP in 2019 with Pramac Ducati.
The press release announcing Rossi's contract extension is below:
YAMAHA AND ROSSI CONFIRM TWO-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is delighted to announce that it will continue its strong relationship with nine-time World Champion and living MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, having signed a new two-year agreement.
Losail (Qatar), 15th March 2018
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Valentino Rossi are delighted to have reached an agreement that will see the Italian rider remain with Yamaha‘s factory team for the 2019 and 2020 MotoGP seasons, aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.
The contract extension comes just before the 39-year-old will embark on his 13th season with Yamaha, starting at the Grand Prix in Qatar, held from March 16th – 18th.
The combination of the Doctor and the YZR-M1 has led to many milestones in the past and together they secured four MotoGP World Championship titles. He is Yamaha's most successful Grand Prix rider in history, with 56 wins, 43 second places, and 35 third places secured in 206 races together. Moreover, out of the manufacturer's 500 Grand Prix victories, achieved in Le Mans 2017, exactly 11% of those victories were secured by him, making him the biggest contributing rider, having scored 55 victories on a Yamaha up to that point.
For an overview of some of Rossi‘s records and career highlights, visit Yamaha‘s special Valentino Rossi Webpage. Clicking on the statistics will reveal a hidden image.
With six strong podiums last year, including a brilliant GP victory in the Netherlands, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is confident in their partnership with Rossi and look forward to being a serious title contender for 2018 and the following seasons.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA MOTOR RACING
The confirmation of Valentino‘s two-year extension of his Agreement with Yamaha is a great way to start the 2018 season that kicks off officially on Friday in Qatar. The news may not be a great surprise because Valentino has made it clear that he wanted to continue to race, but the reconfirmation will surely come as welcome news for his millions of fans around the world.
It was very easy to reach an agreement together – as a Factory Team we need top riders capable to win and with the total commitment to do what it takes to achieve the goal. Despite his many years in the sport and his 39 years, Vale is as committed today as he ever was and there is no doubt he is still a top rider, as witnessed most recently by his second position in the final pre-season test here in Qatar. Now it is our job as a team and a factory to give him the best possible YZR-M1 to let him fight for race wins and championship success.
Having both Maverick and Valentino now signed for 2019-20 allows us to just focus all of our energy on the 2018 season and to be strong contenders at every single MotoGP Grand Prix. It promises to be a highly competitive season and like all the fans - we in Yamaha are truly excited to go racing on Sunday night here in Losail.
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
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. 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.
Rossi is known as one of the greatest of all time.
He equals Mike Hailwood and Carlo Ubbiali, who both wrote nine titles to their names in all classes, only Giacomo Agostini and Angel Nieto have more. With 56 wins from 206 races Rossi remains the most successful Yamaha racer of all time since he joined the Japanese factory.
Moreover, Rossi is the only rider to win premier class titles on five different types of motorcycles (500cc 4-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc 5-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 990cc 4-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 800cc 4-cylinder four-stroke and a Yamaha 1000cc 4-cylinder four-stroke).
RECORDS & HIGHLIGHTS
- Rossi is the most successful Yamaha rider in history (56 wins, 43 second places, 35 third places on a Yamaha, scored in 206 races).
- He is the rider that's been active the longest in Grand Prix Racing (he made his debut in 1996, this will be his 23rd season, and he has made 365 Grand Prix starts in total, of which 273 were in the MotoGP class).
- He competed the most seasons on a Yamaha in the MotoGP class (this will be his 13th season).
- He is the only rider to win the MotoGP World Championship four times in a row (2002 - 2005).
- He secured the most podiums for Yamaha in the MotoGP class (so far he has stood on the rostrum with Yamaha 134 times).
- He holds the most first places for Yamaha in the MotoGP class (56 wins).
- He is the only rider to complete 230 races back-to-back, without missing one (from his debut in 1996 in Malaysia until the race in Mugello in 2010).
- He holds the record for most races started overall and in the premier class. (He has started 365 GP races across all classes; 305 of which have been in the premier class and 206 of those races were ridden on a Yamaha.)
- He was the first rider to take back-to-back premier-class victories with different manufacturers (after his win at the 2004 season-opening GP in South Africa).
- He scored five successive premier-class victories on a Yamaha (2008: USA, CZE, RSM, INP, JPN).
- He achieved the highest number of premier-class victories in a single season by a Yamaha rider (11 wins in 2005).
- He finished on the podium at all 16 races in 2003, achieving a perfect 100% podium rate.
- He repeated the 16 podiums score (which has been equaled but never surpassed) from 2003 in the 2005 and 2008 season, making him the only rider to score that many podiums in more than two seasons.
- He stood on the podium in the premier-class on 191 occasions.
- He has been on the podium 227 times across all classes, more than any other rider.
- He won at least one GP in every year of his 12 seasons with Yamaha so far.
- He is the only Grand Prix rider that also excels in rally racing. (He is a six-time winner of the Monza Rally Show.)
- He is the only rider to win premier class titles on five different types of motorcycle (500cc 4-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc 5-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 990cc 4-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 800cc 4-cylinder four-stroke and a Yamaha 1000cc 4-cylinder four-stroke).
- Out of Yamaha‘s 500 Grand Prix victories, achieved in Le Mans 2017, 11% of those were secured by him, making him the biggest contributing rider (55 victories of the 500 GP wins secured by Yamaha).
- He is the most successful premier-class rider in Assen (8 victories) and Brno (5 first places). He also holds records for most wins over all classes in Mugello, Catalunya, Estoril, Phillip Island, Welkom, Jerez, Sepang, Donington Park, and Rio.
- He is the only active Grand Prix racer who is also a lower-classes team owner at the same time.
- He secured 5,875 points in total, if you combine his results over all the classes he competed in (125cc, 250cc, 500cc, MotoGP).
- He will start his 23rd racing season this weekend… and there are many more impressive statistics to come in the next two years.
For a full rider biography visit: https://www.yamahamotogp.com/valentino-rossi