Valentino Rossi's performances during the opening six races of next season will be 'crucial' in deciding whether the Italian continues his MotoGP career beyond 2014.

The legendary seven time MotoGP champion claimed a record 80th victory during his return to Yamaha this year, but was left firmly in the wake of Marc Marquez (Honda), Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda) in the championship standings.

In an extract released by Sportmediaset.it from "The New Age - A year of MotoGP", to be broadcast by the Italy 1 TV channel tonight (Wednesday), Rossi states:

"If I'm here and I want to keep racing, I will have to stay ahead in 2014, closer to the first three. From February to June, the tests and the first six races will be crucial for deciding whether to continue or stop racing in MotoGP at the end of the season. I'd like to continue for another couple of years, but only if they are competitive."

As part of his efforts to bridge the gap to the class leaders, 34-year-old Rossi has split from crew chief Jerry Burgess, a decision he also addresses in the programme.

Rossi's most recent world title was in 2009, the #46 breaking a leg early in 2010 then making an ill-fated switch to Ducati for 2011.

The sixth race of the 2014 season will be Rossi's home Italian round, at Mugello.

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