Valentino Rossi Signs Two-Year Deal With Yamaha For 2015 And 2016

The news had been coming for a month or so, but at last it has been announced officially. Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year extension of his contract with the Movistar Yamaha team, and will race with them in MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. For the past few races, Rossi had said he had been close to signing a new deal, but had a few details still to clear up. Those details had been resolved at some point between the Barcelona and Assen rounds, with Rossi's new contract signed at Assen.

The new contract is a result of Rossi's very strong showing this season, a major improvement over 2013. Rossi has already matched the number of podium finishes he had last season, with four 2nd places and one 3rd, though he has not yet managed to win a race, as he did in 2013. Improved braking performance from Yamaha has helped make Rossi more competitive, as has a change in riding style. The gamble to replace Jeremy Burgess with Silvano Galbusera as crew chief has also paid off richly. Whether the improvement has come from technical improvement in set up, or a result of increased motivation from the pressure Rossi put himself under with the move remains to be seen.

With Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez now set for the two seasons, the waiting is for announcements of the second riders at both the Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha teams. Dani Pedrosa is reported to be close to renewing with Honda, with a deal likely to come either at the Sachsenring or shortly afterwards. Negotiations with Jorge Lorenzo are taking a little longer, though it seems almost certain that he too will stay where he is. Lorenzo's options are limited, with the only realistic alternative a seat at Ducati. That, however, is too much of a gamble for a rider chasing championships. 

To announce the contract renewal, Yamaha issued both a press release and a video announcement from Rossi himself. Both appear below:

Yamaha and Valentino Rossi Set to Continue with Two-Year Contract Extension

Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 2nd July 2014

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd is delighted to announce that it has signed a new two-year agreement with Valentino Rossi. The nine-time world champion will continue to race with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 MotoGP World Championship seasons.

The announcement comes midway through an excellent season for the MotoGP veteran. Rossi currently sits in second in the standings having taken four second place finishes and a total of five podiums from eight races so far this year.

Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing Lin Jarvis

“I am very happy that we have concluded the agreement with Valentino for 2015 and 2016. Since his return to Yamaha in 2013 it’s been a very positive experience for everybody involved. After two difficult years ‘away from home’ Valentino returned last year, not only to us but also to his beloved YZR-M1. Fans of racing across the world were happy to see him rediscover his competitive performance and witness him take pleasure in riding and having fun again on two wheels. The “fun factor” is crucial to Valentino to get results – in fact when he first joined us in 2004 one of the most important motivations for his move to Yamaha was his desire to create an environment where he could enjoy racing. His enjoyment is obvious to all who meet him at the MotoGP events or who see him race on TV and is reflected in his excellent race results this year where he is currently in second position in the World Championship. We look forward to the next two and a half years together and it is our intention that Valentino will remain with Yamaha until the end of his sporting career and beyond.”

46 Valentino Rossi

“I am very happy to announce that I have signed a new contract with Yamaha to continue together in MotoGP for the next two years. I am very proud of this announcement. It’s very important to me because I really enjoy working with my crew and all the guys from the team, both the Japanese and European members that have been with me almost my entire career. It’s great because this was my target; I wanted to continue, I am feeling good and I’m motivated to keep giving my best. I am very happy that I can keep riding my YZR-M1, that has been my love for so many years and will still be my love this year and the following two seasons. A big 'Thank You' to everybody, I will try to keep giving the maximum to arrive in front and make good races. Enjoy!”

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We are indeed very fortunate to have him still with us and on track with such high caliber of riders at the front.

Contrary to popular fears, MotoGP will go on after Valentino, but it sure is great having him on track still. We have a couple more years to watch a legend.

He's done well this year and the contract is well deserved.

You have to feel for Pol Espargaro though, who surely would have taken the seat had Valentino retired.

I don't feel sorry for Pol, and I'm a fan of him. I think his position is highly enviable, age 23 and having a contract with the Yamaha mothership and a seat on the best satellite team. He has had a good rookie start in MotoGP, but has not really made a convincing case for "alien" status. I think he has a long and successful career ahead of him, and is getting fine support from Yamaha. Meanwhile, Valentino is performing at a higher level on the track, and is also more valuable commercially to Yamaha.

For now. But this contract locks out the factory Yamaha team for the next two years unless Jorge leaves, Rossi isn't getting any younger and Pol will certainly get even better. Yamaha risk losing Pol who has to be one of the brightest non-Marquez prospects going at the moment.

Any idea on what the terms of the new contract are, and David, when are you going to report on the engine situation, or is it such a non issue it doesnt need reporting.

First, the easy part: the engine freeze make judging the engine situation much more difficult. Each rider has five engines, and for the factory riders, those are separate, sealed units. As a result, they get swapped in and out as it suits the teams. There is no point trying to hold on to an engine for long in the hope of getting upgraded parts, because no engine upgrades are allowed. The more interesting developments are in Forward, who are getting through engines more quickly than expected, but again, that is in part due to the nature of the lease deal, so is hard to judge. Other than that, the factories have the engine situation completely under control.

Next, to the terms of the new contract: almost always top secret. We will have to wait for someone to leak something, but even then, such rumors tend to be wide of the mark.

Happy Happy happyyy hapiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D :D :D :D :D

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

All smiles, i hope Motogp arrives to the Indian circuit(Budhh international) Within these two years.

Waiting to watch our legendary 'GOAT' fingers crossed.

Comeon DORNA bring the GP to india and u will witness the real two wheeler race lovers.

@David could you please update any insight about any negotiations for the Indian GP, bcoz lorenzo was here rode the track said he loved it., Besides Honda & Yamaha too have a major sales in our country.

Good news for Yamaha, Dorna and race fans all round.

Whilst he is the best rider of his generation I'll call Vale 'the GOAT' about 2.5 seconds after he has won his first IoM TT race ;)

From memory, the problem with India wasn't the track it was crazy customs import / export procedures that would keep all the bikes and kit impounded for an extended duration both before and after the race basically killing the season for all involved?

If India can sort out the red tape..........

"I'm very 'appy"

I assume your are mimicking Rossi's accent. I love hearing Rossi's interviews after he gets a podium. Something about italians speaking English is very endearing and funny. That was especially true for Simoncelli.

MotoGP is not coming to India anytime soon. Remember that even World Superbikes which was to come to India and did not, is also not talking of anything about India. The problem seems to be that Dorna is not looking to India because of what transpired between the Jaypee group and the Infront promoted by the Flammini brothers - a deal that included giving away of TV rights to the promoter. Formula 1 is also unlikely to return to India and in all this I do not think MotoGP will come.

At least one of the major issues of levying import duties on cars and motorcycles coming into India for a race (that was so shameful and done in the guise that motorsport is not a sport; just entertainment and therefore does not qualify for special privileges when T20 cricket or any other sport that involves spectating is also entertainment but treated as a sport by the Sports Minister then, Mr. Gill) seems to have been relaxed, it still appears that no negotiations are on about bringing motorsport events to India. Even GT racing scheduled to come in was cancelled and no talks are on to bring even the less expensive motorsports such as WTCC, GT Racing, DTM (also touted to have an Indian round but went kaput) and the V8 Supercar series also not making it to the Buddh Circuit, I cannot see how MotoGP will come any time soon. The politics that are so entrenched in the apex body of Indian motorsport, the FMSCI also contribute to this mess. Ergo, I am not optimistic about anything coming to India. Thank God for TV, at least we get to see the races.

>>and done in the guise that motorsport is not a sport; just entertainment

Isn't that exactly what Dorna and others have been telling us for the past few years? I'm sure there is a catchy phrase about post dinner snacks or personal housekeeping I could throw out there but I won't bother.


All sport is entertainment, be it cricket, NFL, soccer, athletics, or F1. Ironically, the cricket purists have condemned T20 (Twenty20) cricket for debasing the game and turning it into a spectacle, being played in an evening rather than over five days, as the sport was originally conceived. Then again, they said that about the one-day game as well. Despite the objections of the purists, both one-day cricket and Twenty20 are hugely popular, and have expanded the reach of the sport.

Can anyone comment on the privacy of these contracts? Admittedly I don't have any knowledge of contracts specific to international motorsports, but I am used to American sports contracts (or at least compensation amounts) being public information. Not that any of us necessarily want to share out compensation information with the general public, but I'm surprised at how secret this information is. It seems that "alleged" numbers are tossed around periodically but without much substance to back them up. It's really just curiosity eating at me.

I suspect this is due to two factors. The first is that the culture of keeping wages secret is far more pervasive in Europe than it is in the US, and most of the teams are based in Europe. Secondly, I think that US sports are much more tightly managed than MotoGP, and other European sports.

Having said that, it is common for contract amounts for soccer players to be regularly discussed, though whether those numbers are actually correct or not is not entirely clear. 

MotoGP salary numbers bandied about generally come from leaks from riders or managers, who usually have their own agenda for leaking such information. They tend to be fairly incorrect, a fact further exacerbated by the constant gossip in the paddock about salaries. I recently saw a list of rider salaries on a non-motorsports website, and of the salaries listed, at least 50% were wildly off the mark (in one case, out by a factor of 50 or more), and only 1 or 2 were close to the truth.

When the silly season started it was like such a rich mixture of a cocktail and now it seems so stupid what majority were thinking at the start of the season. Lorenzo to honda or ducati, dani to yamaha or suzuki, even marc wuz linked with suzuki at sum point.

Now as every1 sees the situation is clear. Dani and jorge will remain where they are but the real drama will be the ducati and suzuki contracts. I hope a shock move is in reserve within these two factories.

@ mokie46 .... hardly a chance for a motogp race in BUDDH circuit in INDIA. F1 race is cancelled this year inspite of a 5 year contract. This year it should have been its 4th race in 4 years. Though the track is spectacular with flowing corners, in 2012 WSBK race too wuz cancelled. According to me the problem is the circuit's owners. And now dorna controlling WSBK too it is likely that motoGP will only go to INDIA if WSBK is successfully organized there...!!

I too remember JORGE riding a yamaha R15 v2 in that circuit back in early 2012. It wuz all up and was running in the motoGP website back then.

Rossi. Well, I am one of the Rossi doubters, but he, (as he has always done), proved me wrong. He is getting better every round, and looks like he may keep speeding up. The man was always a mental masterpiece of a racer. Even when young, it was like he was an embodiment of mischievous past champions brains put together in a young racer. Able to make decisions in a race that many racers only think of in hindsight. Marquez has the same thing going, but is more the embodiment of more direct past champions, the ones that do not play with their prey.

Rossi has earned this contract and richly deserves it. While others that had more speed faltered, he has pushed through more and more with each race. Still not happy about HOW he got rid of Jeremy Burgess, but Rossi showing he needed to do something different. Whether JB was the true source of that of lack of pace is something I do not know. But I will just say Congrats to Rossi. And here is to hoping that he gains even more speed in the next couple of years!

From everything reported, it was partly due to Matteo Flamigni getting a bigger role in things. Articles eluded to Burgess having to go for that to take place. Whether true or not, that's what the articles pointed towards.

What will be interesting is Jorge resigning. Last time this happened, Rossi had to take a paycut, and that pay went directly over to the other side of the garage and pushed Rossi to go to Ducati. I think he begrudgingly agreed to the shared #1 status. The $ going from his bank account directly to Lorenzo's was the straw that.....

From what I can remember, I have no recollection of Rossi ever being asked to take a pay cut by Yamaha. This is information which I have found only on this site. I remember very clearly, Rossi asking Yamaha to choose between him and Lorenzo, saying that if Lorenzo stays then he will go. Rossi also alluded to the fact that the father of the M1, the maker of the "growler" engine, Masao Furusawa was retiring as one of the reasons for leaving Yamaha. His argument was that Furusawa was not around when Rossi lost his title to Stoner in 2007 and he insisted that the engineer be at every MotoGP race and Furusawa complied. But he was retiring at the end of 2010 and Rossi openly doubted Yamaha's ability to keep producing a competitive motorcycle in his absence. Pay cut? I don't know, but what I don't know need not be untrue, so you could be right.

This site reported that Rossi was asked to take a pay cut in order to fund Lorenzo's pay increase as World Champion and the future for Yamaha- a search will provide you with several articles suggesting as much.

There are several other sources for the same comment- searching Google will provide you with more but here is 1:;wap2

Hope that helps.

He had to take the small change that was left over after Yamaha's deal with Lorenzo, in order to be taken back by Yamaha. That was well publicised at the time. One of the thing's I don't quite understand here is Lin Jarvis's position. 18 months back he seemed bitterly opposed to VR returning to Yamaha and, in my view anyway, made it clear that VR was 2nd in the team and didn't even deserve that. Maybe I mis-read that though. In any case, I suppose Valentino must be very satisfied to be clearly the stronger rider this year and I wonder whether he sought a degree of reparation for the salary insult of last year.

Regarding JB, whichever way you cut it that was a sad way to end a partnership, but apart from the messy public side of it, I wouldn't have thought there was any way for Rossi to say he wanted a change without damaging the relationship, not least because JB had said many times that he was going to retire when VR retired. But maybe it had got to a stage where, like the rest of us, JB no longer believed Rossi was quite capable of the results he's getting now, and if your crew chief doesn't believe in you it must be likely that they'll start thinking it's not the bike or the setup, it's you, and stop trying to find those small tweaks that suddenly work wonders.

I did not know that Matteo Flamigni's role was expanded. Had not even heard about that. That gives and interesting turn if it is true it would make sense.

I'm a huge burgess fan. His interviews were always my favorite.

However, I think Rossi handled the situation as well as he could have. I recall reading that the news that JB would be replaced was leaked so Rossi told ol' Jerry boy face to face, man to man before the news found its way to Jeremy through some other avenue.

Also, Rossi never but any blame on Jeremy. He said that Jeremy was like family and that nothing was wrong with Jeremy, but Rossi thought a new chief would provide new motivation.

Maybe I'm daft, but I don't know how Rossi could have handled it any better given the fact that the news was leaked and everyone was about to find out anyway.

I think Rossi gets too much criticism for this whole deal.

>However, I think Rossi handled the situation as well as he could have.

I suppose it might have been a little classier and cleaner if they had held a conference announcing that, with great regret, JB was retiring (at least for a while) to spend more time with his family back home down south. VR was surprised and saddened but wishes his "third uncle", who tirelessly engaged in all of those championships, all of the best times with his fishing pole and grand kids at his feet on the porch. As this had been in the works for a while, JB and VR had time to iron out the next steps and a new crew chief will be shortly unveiled.

Or something like that.

There is nothing good about getting sacked. You can bake a cake for the guy, say how sorry you are, offer severance, getting sacked is getting sacked. Nothing anyone says or does is going to make it any better. Some want to act like a red carpet should have been rolled out after half the season had taken place but I think the decision hadn't been made by then. At the end of the day this is a business. That deal was just an excuse for Rossi haters to whine. Jerry was OK with it. Unless there is some interview of him being ticked it will remain that way. The biggest factor in all of that was Jerry was done after this season if he would have stayed. He did not want to sign on for two more years as he had been holding off retiring prior. I think Valentino decided to get started early, rather than later, on his future, even if there isn't that much of it left in this sport.
So far, it looks like his decision was the right one, unlike the Ducati move. He sure has proved everyone wrong who said it was him and not the bike. 1.5 seasons past and they still can't get the thing to handle.

Should have been handled a lot better than it was. At the least some sort of dinner with his various riders roasting him. It would have been nice to see both Yamaha and Honda people singing his well deserved praises. In the end it was one of Rossi's inner circle that leaked it so don't blame the press.

As far as Rossi's performance improvement this year goes, it is all him. In fact there have been several situations: cooking tires in the race, getting last minute setup changes wrong and not having a good qualifying process in place, where I think JB would have done a better job than the new guy.


Think he's referring to his crew, who mostly went with him to Yamaha, then ducati, and presumably back to Yamaha.

Can anyone comment on the general structure of rider contracts? Even without knowing the exact numbers, what do the contracts look like? How much of the total package is salary, vs performance incentives? Are the incentives for winning or podium level finishes? For individual races, or the whole season? What happens if a rider is injured and can't compete? Any other interesting opera noteworthy items (bowls of green M&M's in the dressing room, etc.)?

@99Bunny, Thank you mate for reminding me of WSBK, i totally forgot that i saw India on their event calender..... Was supposed to make it their but i got held up. However i was there for he F1 race last year. Wow that was a treat for the eyes, feasting on those mega blasst noises of the F1 cars when they drove past me, Those booms when they did a down shift gear WOWWIIIIIIIEEEEE..... Sebastian won his world title and celebrated doing a wheel spin & burn, in his car on the main straight, heard he was fined for

Yeah i agree in India there is this customs rip off....Utter non sense & stupidity. However what i don't understand is why would there be customs payable when its held only inside a circuit & not on the streets.

And yes whoeva wrote Rossi off, Ma Middle Finger to you homies... Buhaaaaaa :P :P :P........ Hope he Bags one last world title.

Go ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! VALE :D <3


I am going to have to seriously beef up my travel budget in order to make a few more international rounds before the end of 2016....
Anyone have lawns needing mowing, paper routes for sale?!