2010 MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo
has finally agreed a new deal with Yamaha - for the next two seasons.
Lorenzo joined Yamaha's official MotoGP team as the reigning double 250cc world champion in 2008 and, following Dani Pedrosa's collarbone injury, is now all but certain to become Spain's second ever premier-class champion after Alex Criville
The 23-year-old, who finished second to team-mate Valentino Rossi
in last year's championship, has won seven races so far this season and holds a 56 point lead over Pedrosa, the only rider who can now beat him.
Lorenzo was leading the world championship at the time of Rossi's leg-breaking practice accident at round four in Italy. Rossi will move to Ducati next season.
"My first choice was always to stay here with Yamaha and I am very glad that this will happen," said Lorenzo. "I feel happy here; I have good people around me, a strong relationship with Yamaha and a great bike.
"I want to say thanks again to Lin Jarvis, who has always supported me. Now we are focused on winning the championship but I am already excited about next season. I know that Ben and I can do a great job for Yamaha and I want to thank them for their belief in me."
Lorenzo will ride alongside Ben Spies next season and Lorenzo has indicated that he will share data with the Texan, although the wall built at Rossi's request to divide the factory M1 pits may remain.
"We are extremely happy that we have reached an agreement with Jorge to remain a Factory Yamaha rider for 2011 and 2012," said Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director of Lin Jarvis.
"Since he joined three years ago he has made great progress and has improved himself every year to go from fourth place and 'best rookie' in 2008, to second place in 2009, to challenging for the MotoGP championship title in 2010.
"I am particularly pleased to finally get the agreement in place here in Japan because it will now enable Jorge to focus all of his efforts and concentration in the coming weeks to try to secure his first MotoGP class rider's title. Being only 23 years old I believe Jorge has a long career ahead of him and hopefully he can win many world titles with Yamaha.
"Jorge will be joined by Ben Spies in the Factory Team next year and with these two exceptionally talented hungry young riders we will start the 2011 season with the most exciting and competitive team in the paddock."