Eight races into the 2014 MotoGP season, Valentino Rossi has finished second four times. (Photo courtesy MotoGP.com)

Eight races into the 2014 season, has finished second four times and has picked up five podium finishes. (Photo courtesy .com)

Nine-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will continue to race for the factory Yamaha team through 2015 and 2016.

The announcement, made Wednesday morning, comes as little surprise given the 35-year-old Italian’s pace this season. Rossi is currently tied for second in the MotoGP standings with Dani Pedrosa.

“I am very proud of this announcement,” says Rossi. “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.”

“I am very happy that we have concluded the agreement with Valentino for 2015 and 2016,” said , the Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. “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.”

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