Italian motorcycling star Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year extension with Yamaha that will keep the nine-time world champion with the Japanese team beyond his 39th birthday.

Rossi returned to Yamaha in 2013 after two unsuccessful years at Ducati and the Italian finished runner-up behind team-mate Jorge Lorenzo last season.

Rossi’s new deal will see him remain part of the Yamaha line-up until 2018, raising questions over the future of Lorenzo who is out of contract at the end of this season.

“I am very satisfied with this decision, because it has always been my plan to compete in motorsports for as long as I can be competitive and find it enjoyable at the same time,” Rossi said in a statement.

“Ever since I returned to Yamaha in 2013 I have felt like I am home again and this showed in the results. I get great enjoyment out of working with my crew and the rest of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.”

The new season is set to start on Sunday in Qatar. – Agence France-Presse

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