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Rossi to remain with Yamaha in MotoGP until end of 2018

MotoGp of Qatar - Free Practice

DOHA, QATAR - MARCH 18: Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP prepares to start in box during the MotoGp of Qatar - Free Practice at Losail Circuit on March 18, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

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Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year contract extension with Yamaha lasting until the end of the 2018 MotoGP season.

Widely regarded as being one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all-time, Rossi has won four MotoGP titles with Yamaha during two separate stints with the Japanese manufacturer.

At 37, Rossi’s future has been a recurring topic in MotoGP for some time, with the Italian opting in recent years to decide on whether or not to extend his contract a few races into the season.

Rossi said last month that he would consider signing a two-year extension after the first five or six races, but has today announced the new deal ahead of the opening round of the season.

“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,” Rossi said.

“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. I will keep pushing at each and every grand prix so we can all keep enjoying MotoGP for more years to come!”

The 2016 MotoGP season kicks off this weekend in Qatar, with Rossi set to go head-to-head with Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Honda’s Marc Marquez for the championship once again after finishing second last year.

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