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GP Week : Issue 13
VALENTINO Rossi is considering extending his career with Yamaha by two more years, to the end of 2010, as he moves closer to completing his deal with the factory he joined in 2004. As reported from France, his enthusiasm and motivation have been boosted by the big technical step forward by the machine this year, as well as the challenge of adapting to Bridgestone tyres. “It’s hard to enjoy racing so much when you are not winning,” he said. He has already opened discussions with Yamaha, but after sacking his management team after his tax disaster last year he is doing his own negotiation, and it is difficult to find the time. “The contract is quite big, so there are a lot of difficult points to fix,” he said. “I need to speak with Yamaha, but the atmosphere is very relaxed. I think it is possible to continue. I am not sure, but it is more than 90 percent. “Now we have to decide if it is a one-year or two-year contract,” he concluded. Rossi has frequently said he expects to finish his MotoGP career with Yamaha, but after his worst championship finish since his 125 debut season last year (he was third), he had started to express some doubts. Rossi: two-year Yamaha deal likely n Even Valentino Rossi agreed that his special home-GP helmet was designer Aldo Drudi’s best yet. Above the visor was a painting of his own terrified face – eyes goggling and mouth wide open, “like I am braking at the end of the straight here.” The effect was striking: tucked under the screen, the portrait stared out from over the fairing bubble … n The financially tied Tech 3 Yamaha team, unable to find a major sponsor in spite of good results this year, has at least managed to add one more logo to the fairing for the rest of the year – that of Italian bathroom furniture company Antonio Lupi. n After demonstrating his MotoGP Honda at the Brickyard oval at last weekend’s Indianapolis 500, Nicky Hayden stayed to watch the race for the first time. “I know us bike guys accuse car guys of being a little bit soft, but they get down the end of that straightaway and turn left at 225 mph without touching the brake or lifting the throttle, so they're pretty brave,” he opined. “But I’d say if they're honest with themselves, they better come back in September and see the bikes.” n The Chinese-backed Europe-built Maxtra 125 is ready for shake-down tests in the near future, after a brief run in pouring rain at Mallory Park revealed no major gremlins, revealed engine designer Jan Witteveen. n Rossi’s pole position at Mugello may have been his 50th in his career and the 40th in the top class – but it was also his first for almost a year. The last time was at the Catalunyan GP of 2007. HIGH SIDES 12