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MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi becomes Yamaha brand ambassador

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has signed a deal to become a Yamaha brand ambassador.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The nine-time grand prix motorcycle world champion joined Yamaha in 2004 and helped transform the Japanese marque’s form, winning back-to-back titles.

Rossi would win two more with Yamaha in 2008 and 2009 to take his premier class haul to seven, and ultimately finished his MotoGP career with the marque at the end of 2021.

The Italian served two stints with Yamaha, first from 2004 to 2009 and again from 2013 to the end of 2021 following two dismal seasons with Ducati in 2011 and 2012.

Of his 89 MotoGP race wins, Rossi claimed 56 of these with Yamaha and is the marque’s most successful rider in grand prix history.

Since retiring in 2021, Rossi has embarked on a car racing campaign in the GT World Challenge Europe with WRT and owns the VR46 squad that competes in MotoGP.

Rossi linked up with Ducati for his team’s debut in 2022, though it has been linked to a Yamaha switch as it looks to have a satellite squad again after RNF Racing switched to Aprilia for 2023.

The VR46 Ducati deal runs to the end of 2024, while Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said at the Americas Grand Prix that it was unlikely the Japanese manufacturer would have a customer squad next season.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Brand Ambassador with Tetsu Ono

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Brand Ambassador with Tetsu Ono

Photo by: Yamaha

However, Rossi becoming a Yamaha brand ambassador could be seen as the first steps towards a VR46 satellite tie-up in 2025.

“Of course, this is a great moment for Yamaha and it‘s also an emotional development for the fans, who I‘m sure miss Valentino‘s presence in MotoGP since he retired from his successful career,” Jarvis said.

“Valentino and his M1 shared a special bond. His arrival at Yamaha was the catalyst that completely changed our MotoGP racing programme to the point that Valentino and Yamaha almost became synonymous.

“Together we achieved many wins, podiums, and four championships, and then there are also the moments behind the scenes: the hard work but also the fun parts and the shared passion for racing.

“We always considered Valentino as ’family‘, and as soon as he expressed his desire to keep using Yamaha bikes and to become a Brand Ambassador, we went to work to make it happen. We are thrilled that Valentino is now officially our ambassador.”

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Yamaha and VR46 do have a partnership currently in the MotoGP paddock in the form of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp team in Moto2.

Rossi’s team currently leads the riders’ standings in MotoGP with Marco Bezzecchi, who heads the championship by three points prior to Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez – which Rossi is attending.

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