Valentino Rossi Extends MotoGP Contract
Following seven years on Yamaha machinery in the premier class, which included four titles, Valentino Rossi split with the Japanese manufacturer and joined Ducati for 2011.
The Italian/Italian combo was the ultimate dream team for many, but the results were horrible considering Rossi’s nine-time World Champion status. Rossi finished 2011’s points race in seventh after earning only one podium, and followed that up with sixth in 2012, earning two podiums.
Things had to change, and they did for 2013 when Rossi rejoined two-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Yamaha squad, the Urbino-born rider signing a two-year contract. Rossi immediately showed promise, finishing second at the season opener in Qatar. He would also take the Assen MotoGP win, which was his first victory since Malaysia in 2010.
Rossi finished 2013 fourth overall, and so far in 2014 he has finished on the podium five times out of eight races, which includes four second-place finishes. If he can keep up this performance, he may be some threat to Marc Marquez, who won the opening eight rounds so far this season.
Regardless if he achieves this or not, one thing is for sure – the 34-year-old Italian doesn’t want to stop. Rumors spread about Rossi retiring following his two-year contract, but the rumors ceased on Tuesday when Rossi extended his contract with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP through 2016.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1) says “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!”
Lin Jarvis (Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing) says “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.”
Lorenzo’s contract also expires at the end of this season, and is currently having contract talks with Yamaha, and, rumor has it, a few other teams.
Valentino Rossi Career Highlights:
- Grand Prix contested in total: 302 (242 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
- World Championship wins in total: 9 (MotoGP 2009/08/05/04/03/02, 500cc 2001, 250cc 1999, 125cc 1997)
- Grand Prix Wins: 106 (80 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
- Grand Prix Podiums: 188 (152 x MotoGP/500cc, 21 x 250cc, 15 x 125cc)
- First Grand Prix Victory: Czec Republic, 1996 (125cc)
- Grand Prix Pole positions: 59 (49 x MotoGP/500cc, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
Valentino Rossi Grand Prix Accomplishments by Year:
- 2013: MotoGP World Championship – 4th, Race wins 1
- 2012: MotoGP World Championship – 6th, Race wins 0
- 2011: MotoGP World Championship – 7th, Race wins 0
- 2010: MotoGP World Championship – 3th, Race wins 2
- 2009: MotoGP World Championship – 1st, Race wins 6
- 2008: MotoGP World Championship – 1st, Race wins 9
- 2007: MotoGP World Championship – 3th Race wins 4
- 2006: MotoGP World Championship – 2nd Race wins 5
- 2005: MotoGP World Championship – 1st Race wins 11
- 2004: MotoGP World Championship – 1st, Race wins 9
- 2003: MotoGP World Championship – 1st, Race wins 9
- 2002: MotoGP World Championship – 1st, Race wins 11
- 2001: 500cc World Championship – 1st, Race wins 11
- 2000: 500cc World Championship – 2nd, Race wins 2
- 1999: 250cc World Championship – 1st, Race wins 9
- 1998: 250cc World Championship – 2nd, Race wins 5
- 1997: 125cc World Championship – 1st, Race wins 11
- 1996: 125cc World Championship – 9th, Race wins 1