Bengaluru, January 29: MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi said he wants to extend his career beyond 2020 despite Fabio Quartararo taking his seat in Yamaha garage from 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship season.
In a statement released by Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, the Italian rider said he needed more time to consider his future beyond the upcoming season but that his "first goal is to be competitive this year and to continue my career as a MotoGP rider also in 2021".
"For reasons dictated by the riders' market," said the nine-time world champion across all classes.
"Yamaha asked me at the beginning of the year to make a decision regarding my future. Consistent with what I said during the last season, I confirmed that I didn't want to rush any decision and needed more time. Yamaha has acted accordingly and concluded the ongoing negotiations.
"It's clear that after the last technical changes and with the arrival of my new crew chief, my first goal is to be competitive this year and to continue my career as a MotoGP rider also in 2021. Before doing so, I need to have some answers that only the track and the first few races can give me.
"I'm happy that, should I decide to continue, Yamaha is ready to support me in all respects, giving me a factory-spec bike and a factory contract. In the first tests I'll do my best to do a good job together with my team and be ready for the start of the season," Rossi added.
Earlier, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP made the announcement that French rider Quartararo, who was adjudged the Rookie of the Year in the 2019 FIM MotoGP World Championship season, will join Rossi's team-mate Maverick Vinales in the factory outfit from 2021 season fuelling speculations about the 40-year-old's future in the paddock.
Rossi will complete his 15-year run with Yamaha at the end of the 2020 season and it is presumed that 'The Doctor', as he is affectionately called by his peers, will take a decision on whether to continue or not midway through the next season.