Earlier this year Valentino Rossi said he could retire after the first three races of 2018, and now it looks like the Yamaha-shaped carrot that has been dangled in front of the nine-times world champ is just too tasty to leave the MotoGP party for.

After Tech 3 and Yamaha announced that they were parting ways for 2019, the rumour mill has been in overdrive about the what is going to happen with a satellite team to run machinery from the Japanese factory –  one of the big talking points in the paddock was the possibility of a future VR46-branded outfit doing just that.

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“I didn’t expect Poncharal to leave Yamaha,” said Rossi: “We thought about it and it would have been a great opportunity, but in the next two years we will not make a MotoGP team with Yamaha.”

But then Rossi let slip that once he hangs up his leathers he could well be running the Yamaha satellite squad as the boss. And there’s the VR46 branded MotoGP Yamaha team – but he adds: “I’ll probably race for the next two years, so hopefully, we’ll talk about the team later when I stop – but not in 2019 or 2020.”

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Tony Carter

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