Movistar Yamaha MotoGP managing director Lin Jarvis is fully confident Valentino Rossi will race with his team beyond 2018, although claims that the rider has already signed are untrue.
“Yesterday we were actually in Manila in Philippines for a promotional event and Valentino explained to the media there that right now he definitely has the intention and desire to continue,” Jarvis said.
“It is not yet clear whether he may decide to do a one-year contract or perhaps a two-year contract.
“We’re in close contact. We’ve talked to each other already and we decided that anyway we’d like to see a few tests at least under the belt before making a decision, maybe a few races.”
Rossi, who turns 39 on Friday, is entering his sixth consecutive season with Yamaha Factory Racing and 13th with the team since he first joined in 2004. He earned six podium finishes in 2017 before injuries – including a broken tibia and fibula in an August training crash – interrupted his hopes of earning a 10th championship.
Jarvis firmly dismissed rumors that Rossi had already signed a new contract.
“I was very curious to read [media speculation]. Generally I prepare the contracts, so I can assure you nothing is done at the moment. But I would imagine it won’t be too long until Valentino’s situation is clarified and I fully expect him to be with us again on the grid next year.”
A few weeks ago it was announced Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales signed a two-year deal. When asked if the two sides were waiting to understand Rossi’s level of competitiveness, Jarvis said it was difficult to say.
“I think these three tests are important,” he explained. “We’ve done one and Valentino’s feeling comfortable straight away.
“We haven’t set ourselves a timeframe at the moment. We wanted to get Maverick sorted out because Maverick expressed a desired to be able to decide his future, to relieve himself of that pressure, obviously being just 23 years of age he was somebody that we definitely wanted to keep, and we see a long career for him.”