Following Sunday evening's official announcement that Valentino Rossi's Honda career is over, MotoGP fans may have thought the speculation over the Italian's future would come to an end...

However, Yamaha - the team Rossi is expected to join - has issued a statement claiming that they have yet to sign the five-times world champion, although talks are progressing well and they 'hope to conclude an agreement within the immediate future'.

"We welcome this evening's news that the Honda - Valentino Rossi relationship has drawn to a close," began a statement from Fortuna Yamaha team director Davide Brivio. "As many people know, when it became clear that there was a possibility that Valentino would not renew his agreement with Honda we made contact with his management team.

"I can confirm that our discussions with Valentino's management are proceeding well. With the confirmation that he shall not renew with Honda we shall proceed with our negotiations and hope to conclude an agreement within the immediate future.

"This is obviously a very exciting prospect for us. However, until we have one hundred percent finalised an agreement with Valentino we shall not be able to comment further on the situation and on our Team's final line-up for 2004.

"We fully appreciate that there is enormous media interest in Valentino's future and so we shall endeavour to be as open as possible. However, at the present time I can say no more than this. Our joint aim is to make a full announcement as soon as all the details have been finalised."

Other than Yamaha, Rossi's only destination for 2004 is Ducati, who still have one seat spare. However this appears increasingly unlikely.



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