Rossi For Two More Years

Henny Ray Abrams | July 19, 2008

MONTEREY, CA, JULY 18: Valentino Rossi isn’t going anywhere. The seven-time world champion will stay with Yamaha for the next two years. The signing was revealed during a dramatic announcement after Rossi was introduced to the crowd gathered at a party thrown by Yamaha at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Ca. site of this weekend’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Rossi was the last rider introduced, after a number of other Yamaha legends that included Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Scott Russell, Colin Edwards, James Toseland, Randy Mamola, and Kel Carruthers, among others. When Yamaha corporate communications manager Bob Starr made the announcement, the crowd of several hundred went wild. The contract was signed today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca by Rossi and Masao Furusawa, Executive Officer, Engineering Operations of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. In a statement released by Yamaha, Rossi said, “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. 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” Rossi joined the Yamaha squad in 2004, after winning the 2003 MotoGP World Championship for the Repsol Honda team. Rossi made his debut with the team a memorable one. He began the start of the 2004 season with a dramatic win in the final MotoGP race in Welkom, South Africa. Rossi won the title for Yamaha that year and again in 2005. In 2006, he lost the title in the final race to Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden. Last year, he finished third, behind Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Rossi currently leads the MotoGP World Championship over Pedrosa and Stoner.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.