Valentino Rossi has signed what could be his final MotoGP contract after it was officially announced that the Italian superstar will, as expected, stay at Yamaha for the next two seasons.

Rossi - currently just three wins away from breaking Giacomo Agostini's all time record of 68 premier-class victories - has previously stated that he 'will not race beyond 32'.

That stance may be flexible, but Valentino's new contract will expire at the end of the 2010 season and he will be 32 years old on February 16, 2011.

Upon announcing his new deal, Rossi stated that his motivation to stay in MotoGP for the next two seasons was dependent on remaining with the Yamaha team he has already won two titles with. Rossi also confirmed that he had received 'other opportunities'.

"After so many years spent in racing, fortunately with so many victories, I needed a special motivation to take the decision to sign for two more years," he admitted. "The best place to find this motivation is Yamaha, since I have a great relationship with Yamaha's directors, which comes from a mutual trust and loyalty.

"In our team there is a special atmosphere and with this new deal I can continue to work with my crew, where I am part of the project and part of the development of my M1.

"I had other opportunities but due to Yamaha's efforts to give me the best bike in the best environment, I have decided to stay with Yamaha for two more years. This contract means that Yamaha is the manufacturer I will have spent most of my career with. This means more than a thousand words."

Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis added: "We are obviously delighted to have secured Valentino for a further two years. I think this news will be very welcome for MotoGP fans and for Yamaha fans around the world.

"Valentino is an icon in this sport and he is on top form right now as he challenges to win his eighth world championship and his third title together with Yamaha. This signing confirms Yamaha's four-rider line-up for 2009 so now we can concentrate our full efforts on bike development and team organization to make sure that we are in the best possible shape for next year.

"In the meantime we have many races to go this season and I hope that Valentino can win in Laguna Seca for the first time this Sunday to extend his championship lead before the well-deserved summer break - Forza Vale!"

Having ridden for Aprilia in the 125 and 250GP classes, where he won the 125cc title in 1997 and the 250cc title in 1999, Rossi joined Honda for his premier-class debut in 2000.

The Doctor won the last ever 500cc World Championship in 2001 and then the first two 990cc MotoGP World Championships for the Japanese factory, before making a sensational switch to Yamaha and continuing his title winning form in 2004 and 2005.

Rossi lost the 2006 title to Honda's Nicky Hayden at the very final round, while Ducati's Casey Stoner demolished the opposition during the first year of the 800cc MotoGP class in 2007.

Rossi is currently leading an increasingly tight three-way fight for the 2008 crown, against Stoner and Dani Pedrosa (Honda), with all three covered by 20 points with eight rounds remaining.

Yamaha's 2009 MotoGP rider line-up will thus be exactly the same as this season - Rossi alongside Jorge Lorenzo at the factory team, with Colin Edwards and James Toseland at the satellite Tech 3 outfit.