Valentino Rossi has revealed the process he went through with Movistar Yamaha to agree his new two-year contract with the team which guarantees the nine-time world champion will stay in MotoGP until at least the end of 2020.

After teammate Maverick Vinales confirmed a new two-year deal to stay with the factory Yamaha squad at its team launch in January, all eyes were on Rossi’s contract situation with his existing deal set to expire at the end of 2018. Rossi says he was eager to use the winter tests to understand both his level of performance and the factory Yamaha’s pace before deciding on a new contract.

Having ended the final winter test in Qatar stating he had “put it all together”, Rossi has duly confirmed a new two-year deal with Yamaha which sees him stay in MotoGP for the next three seasons.

While accepting Yamaha has “a lot of work to do” to settle on a strong package with the 2018 YZR-M1, Rossi feels both he and the Japanese manufacturer are in a good position to fight for race wins and his elusive tenth world title.

“I am happy because two years ago when I signed the last contract in the moment that I signed it I thought maybe it is the last one,” Rossi said. “In my mind the idea was always very clear that I wanted to try to continue and the challenge is very high because to stay at the top level and to stay competitive is always more difficult but I think I have enough strength and enough motivation.

“At the end of last season I spoke with Yamaha and said I would decide during the winter tests. If I was able to survive the winter tests I could sign. At the end of the winter tests it was quite good, also if everybody is very close and sometimes we suffered, but I like the bike as I feel comfortable and feel quite fast. We have a lot of work to do but it I decided after the tests.

“The whole package is very important. I think we have some areas where we have to work because sometimes in some tracks and particular conditions we are still suffering a bit. It is about getting everything to work together, the engine, the chassis and the electronics which is very important.”

Rossi confirmed the length of his new contract is the same as Vinales’ with a straightforward two-year deal without the option of a third year extension. The 39-year-old did reveal a potential one-plus-one year contract was considered but opted against it as it would put him out of sync with the rest of the factory riders.

Going into detail about his motivation behind racing at the top level in MotoGP when he will be 41 in 2020, Rossi dismissed the ideal of tainting his career record by racing for too long and pointed to the comeback of Michael Schumacher in F1 and Troy Bayliss in World and Australian Superbikes as reasons not to retire "at the maximum".

“I saw a lot of great riders and also drivers stop at the maximum of their career like Schumacher, Biaggi or Bayliss but I think not everyone was happy about that,” he explained. “Schumacher and Bayliss came back to the track so I have decided I will race to the end, I don’t want to think in the future maybe I can do another season or two. It can be a risk, yes, but if I followed that way of thinking I would have stopped already six or seven years ago.

“I think I am one of the first who has tried it but I think all the other riders that are here are able to stay at the top level until they are 40 because physically it is harder but you can do it. It depends on your motivation and your life if you would like to continue and I think everybody can do it.”