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Rossi claims Yamaha renewal `very likely´

Rossi claims Yamaha renewal `very likely´

Le Mans racewinner and current MotoGP World Championship leader Valentino Rossi has moved one step closer to confirming his future, with a contract renewal with Yamaha the most likely outcome.

Valentino Rossi´s future in MotoGP has yet to be decided, but the Le Mans racewinner appears to be heavily leaning towards an extended stay with the factory Yamaha team.

The Italian´s current two year deal was signed before his home race in Mugello in 2006, and a decision is expected to be made before the 2008 Gran Premio d´Italia Alice. Rossi hinted to Spanish television channel TVE´s `MotoGP Club´ that it was just a matter of negotiating terms with Yamaha for an extension to be confirmed, one that would see him riding for the Japanese factory through 2009 and perhaps beyond.

`We´re talking with Yamaha. I asked them to build a bike to win races and they made it, so there´s no reason for me to change bikes,´ said Rossi, whose last renovation came after experiencing problems with the 990cc M1 at precisely the Le Mans circuit. Since then he has yet to add to his five MotoGP World Championships, but is currently on course for a successful 2008.

`We still have to find an agreement and settle a contract, but I think it´s very likely that I´ll continue for one or two years with Yamaha.´

Many factories would be interested in snapping up Rossi should he opt for a change of scenery. Kawasaki have been the most recently linked with the Italian star, although with Rossi more content with the M1 than ever luring him away would be a tough task.

`The 2008 YZR-M1 is the best bike that Yamaha has produced over the past few years. The 2005 machine was very good but compared to it, the 2008 is even better – it´s really the best Yamaha I have ever ridden. I´m very happy as they managed to take a big step in very little time.´

The 2006 commitment effectively ended speculation of a Rossi switch to four wheel racing, built up by test drives with Formula 1 team Ferrari and World Rally Championship appearances. Despite continuing with rallying in a hobbyist capacity, the MotoGP star is insistent that bikes are where his passion lies.

`I´m still hungry for victory and I think I can still ride for a few years, as long as I want it and I can be on top.´

MotoGP, 2008, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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