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Rossi says contract extension is 90% certain

Rossi says contract extension is 90% certain

Standings leader Valentino Rossi was understandably the centre of attention in Thursday´s pre-event press conference at Mugello, where he confirmed that he is 90% likely to extend his current Yamaha contract.

Thursday´s official Gran Premio d´Italia Alice press conference at Mugello saw Fiat Yamaha´s Valentino Rossi head a quartet of Italians and a solitary American on the panel of riders facing the local and international media´s questions.

The weekend´s Italian festivities will reach fever pitch on Sunday when Rossi attempts to build on his recent consecutive victories in China and France with a seventh straight Mugello triumph, as he seeks to keep his MotoGP title momentum going on home soil and continues to negotiate his future with Yamaha.

Alongside fellow Italians Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot) and Marco Melandri (Ducati Marlboro) and the USA´s 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda), Rossi was the first rider under the spotlight in this afternoon´s press conference.

The Fiat Yamaha star commented, `It is a special race for me and all the Italian riders because it is our home Grand Prix and also because the track is fantastic, maybe one of the best ones of the year. Plus with the crowd, especially on a Sunday it is great, with so many people. Also, I have always been quite fast here!´

`We arrive in good form, with the tyres and the bike, and I think we can be quite competitive again,´ continued the five-time MotoGP World Champion. `The layout here is fantastic, with a lot of different types of chicane and a lot of ups and downs.´

Looking back on his French victory last time out, Rossi added, `Le Mans was great and we stayed on for two days to try a few different settings for the M1 with our Bridgestone tyres. We tried some new Bridgestone qualifying and race tyres and I went very fast on the Tuesday. We don´t have those new tyres here for Mugello but we will for the next races.´

When pressed for a comment on the likelihood of a contract extension beyond the end of this year, Rossi revealed, `I have to speak with Masao Furusawa and Lin Jarvis during the weekend. The atmosphere is very relaxed. It is possible to continue, it isn´t confirmed yet but it is more than 90% likely. Now we have to decide on a one or two year contract. The contract is quite big so we have some difficult points to fix, but I think it will be done as soon as possible with no surprises.´

MotoGP, 2008, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA ALICE, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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