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Motorcycling: Rossi to stay with Yamaha until 2016

Italy's nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has extended his contract with MotoGP outfit Yamaha until 2016, the team announced on Wednesday.

PARIS: Italy's nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has extended his contract with MotoGP outfit Yamaha until 2016, the team announced on Wednesday.

The announcement pours cold water on any reports that the iconic 35-year-old rider was thinking about quitting the sport at the end of the season.

"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 and I am very proud of this announcement," Rossi said in a statement on the team website.

"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!"

Rossi who first won the 125cc world title in 1997 before moving up to claim global honours in the 250cc category two years later, has since added seven world titles at the highest level.

He is currently tied for second in the championship standings with Spanish Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, with the two men 72 points behind Marc Marquez of Spain who has won all eight races this season on a Honda.

"I am very happy that we have concluded the agreement with Valentino for 2015 and 2016," said Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis.

"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.

"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." concluded Jarvis.

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