Next year's MotoGP World Championship is unlikely to be Valentino Rossi's last, with the newly crowned nine-time title winner now 'thinking out loud' about a shot at Giacomo Agostini's grand prix win record.

The Italian superstar has one more year to run on his existing Yamaha contract - and could put his name at the top of all the major premier-class records by the end of 2010.

Rossi already heads the all-time list of 500cc/MotoGP race wins (77), podiums (127) and poles (58) - and is just one title away from joining Agostini on a record eight premier-class world championships.

But Rossi faces a far tougher challenge in terms of total grand prix wins and titles, over all classes.

Nine world championships has put Rossi joint third in the overall record books, but catching Angel Nieto (13) and Agostini (15) is all but impossible in the modern era of racing one class per season.

However the all time grand prix win record remains a more realistic goal.

Agostini holds the record with 122 victories in all classes, while Rossi is currently second with 103. Each MotoGP season contains 17 or 18 rounds, so Rossi would need to ride for at least another two years.

And, judging by comments made immediately after clinching his seventh MotoGP crown one round early at Sepang on Sunday, the question won't be if he signs a new contract - but for how long.

"Maybe I can get close to that record of 122," The Sun reports Rossi as saying. "It depends what I decide in 2011, if I take a one or two-year contract.

"If I had to decide today I would sign up straight away for another two seasons."

But who will Rossi ride for in 2011?

The Doctor appears unhappy that his main title rival, Jorge Lorenzo, is now also his team-mate - although this could simply be a bargaining position with Yamaha - whilst rumours at Sepang suggested the more Rossi-friendly Vittoriano Guareschi could replace Livio Suppo as head of the factory Ducati team in preparation for a future #46 switch.

Substantial obstacles continue to stand in the way of the ever rumoured Rossi/Ducati partnership - not least what would happen to Ducati's present number one Casey Stoner and the fact that Rossi would insist that crew chief Jerry Burgess and as many members of his current team as possible make the move with him.

Yamaha unsurprisingly intends to do all it can to keep Rossi, who has transformed the fortunes of the Japanese factory since his shock switch from Honda at the end of 2003.

Rossi's team manager Davide Brivio also believes that at 30-years-old the chances of Rossi moving to F1 are receding.

"The more years that pass, the older he gets for F1. The chances are lessening in my opinion. And we will do everything we can to keep him," he said.

Rossi is rumoured to want another Ferrari F1 test to celebrate his latest MotoGP title, but believes the only way Rossi will actually race in F1 is as a 'wild-card'.

Rossi, who plans to drive in the Mexico WRC round in March, has previously stated that he will make a decision regarding the 2011 season by June of next year.

Lorenzo, Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso (both factory Honda) will also be out of contract at the end of next season.


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