After weeks of speculation whether Valentino Rossi would be riding a Honda in the coming season, the team can breathe a sigh of relief. A contract has at last been signed, settling the differences between Rossi and the Japanese manufacturer.

The two-year agreement with HRC will see Rossi race the Honda RC211V four-stroke in the MotoGP World Championship starting in April. Now the details have been arranged, Rossi is able to concentrate fully on his preparations for the season to come.

After finalising the deal Carlo Fiorani, a sporting director at the Honda Racing Corporation, told Reuters: "We had to discuss some of the technical and philosophical aspects of the contract. We've resolved the problems and the important thing is that now Valentino will be with Honda in 2002 and 2003."

Despite missing several of the teams recent test sessions, Fiorani is convinced Rossi will be up to speed in no time and a real force in the coming season. "He (Rossi) got a lap record in Jerez on the RC211V," said Fiorani. "He's happy with the bike."

Rossi is travelling to Japan to attend the official announcement of the Honda Motor racing plan for 2002, on Monday February 4. The announcement will be made by Mr T Fukui, Senior Managing Director of Honda Motor Co, Ltd, and Mr Y Ikenoya, President of Honda Racing Corporation.



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