Yamaha’s managing director Lin Jarvis has stated the principle reasons behind extending Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP contract for a further two years is “because of everything he brings to the sport and the team," while adding he in convinced the 39-year old remains an “absolutely top rider capable of winning.”

After months of speculation, confirmation finally arrived on Thursday that Rossi would extend his stay in the premier class to what will be his 21st season as a MotoGP rider in 2020. The Italian will be 41 by then, and after the announcement half-jokingly said he cannot be sure this will be his last contract in the sport.

Having worked with Rossi from 2004 to ’10 and again from ’13 to the present day, Jarvis believes the fact that the Italian was keen to sign was sufficient proof he is still prepared to put in the necessary preparation to remain competitive at this level.

“There are so many reasons [Yamaha wanted to extend Rossi’s contract], it’s difficult to give one,” said Jarvis on Thursday. “Because of everything he brings to Yamaha and the sport and the team, because of who he is, that’s the motivation. But I would also like to add that he is still highly competitive and absolutely a top rider capable of winning.

“Honestly, I had several discussions with him over the winter period as well. We’re pretty much aligned. He will only continue if he is convinced he’s ready to put in that maximum effort and if he’s convinced that he can be competitive.

“It’s the same for us. We want competitive riders. If Valentino is convinced, that means he has made that personal commitment and he feels confident. Therefore so do we. If he decided to renew for one year, we’d have said yes. If he said two years, we’d say yes. If he said five years, I might hesitate.”

When it was put to Jarvis that giving Rossi a two year contract represented a risk in some way considering the nine-time world champion’s age, the Welshman pointed to the length of the deal keeping the Italian in line with the rest of the rider’s market.

“It’s always a gamble,” said Jarvis. “Life is a gamble. At any given time you make a decision based on how you feel, what you know, and everything can change tomorrow. You never know in life.

"The timing, as Valentino said earlier, of his contract, deciding to make a two-year contract, is deciding to be aligned in the rider’s market. It makes it easier to do that.”

 

 

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