Valentino Rossi has signed a deal to remain with Yamaha until the end of next season, putting on hold once again his mooted move to Formula One.
The 27-year-old former MotoGP champion, who has won 25 grands prix and two world titles since joining Yamaha three years ago, has been tempted in the past by an offer from Ferrari, and has driven in the World Rally Championship, but yesterday he announced he would spearhead the Japanese factory's attempt to regain the crown he lost to Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden last season.
Rossi, who is busy developing Yamaha's new 800cc MotoGP bike, said: "I'm very happy I renewed the contract with Yamaha until the end of 2008, so now I can just concentrate on racing.
"Last year, when we fought back from what seemed an impossible situation to come so close to taking the title, showed what a fantastic team we are and this is why I want to stay with Yamaha. The past three years with Yamaha have been very positive. The atmosphere in our garage is always relaxed and happy, and this is something very special and difficult to find.
"I have great faith in Yamaha and I am very excited about my future and the future of the 800cc bike with them."
Yamaha have yet to announce a sponsor for this year, but one will be easier to attract now Rossi has committed himself for the next two seasons.
Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Motor Racing's managing director, said: "We are thrilled our partnership with Valentino will continue for a fifth year in 2008, and it's especially good to have completed all negotiations before the start of the season. This now leaves Valentino free to concentrate solely on the job in hand - winning back the world championship."