Rossi contract talks could be later than previously

Valentino Rossi

Yamaha MotoGP team boss Lin Jarvis anticipates that contract talks with Valentino Rossi will not start until well into next year.

Rossi signed his latest deal, which runs out at the end of 2018, on the eve of the 2016 season.

The announcement came during Round 1 at Qatar and set off a number of moves, most significantly that of then-team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to Ducati.

However, Jarvis does not anticipate such an early start to negotiations this time, and expects Rossi will want to spend the first few races of 2018 weighing up whether he wishes to remain in the sport.

Jarvis told Autosport when asked if talks on a new contract had started, “No, because we have a two-year contract.

“Last year we did it (renewed his contract) in Qatar, which was at the beginning of the season before, as such.

“Right now, we’re a little more than half a year into a two-year contract.

“I don’t think it would be as early as Qatar (next year).

“I think it will be around Mugello-time (June 1-3), he will know whether he wants to extend his contract beyond the end of 2018.”

Rossi has previously made it clear he is open to signing a new contract for 2019 and beyond should he remain competitive.

A fresh two-year deal would keep him racing into his forties.

“When I signed this (current) contract, I think maybe it’s the last one,” Rossi told MotoGP.com in June.

“But I wasn’t sure. It depends very much.

“I will decide next season, at the beginning of next season, but if I’m still competitive and able to win, I want to continue.”

MotoGP starts its Asia-Pacific flyaway rounds with the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend (October 13-15).

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