SPORT

Rossi was going to wait before signing for Yamaha this year.

But Lorenzo’s maneuvering forced the Italian’s hand on the eve of the opening race.

Valentino Rossi was celebrating signing a new contract with the Yamaha MotoGP team just hours before hitting the track at the Losail Circuit, Qatar for the inaugural MotoGP race of the 2016 season, but if could have been quite different.

According to sources close to the nine-times champion, Rossi was expecting to wait ‘five or six races’ before being hit with a definitive offer from the Japanese manufacturer’s team.

But it would appear that his stable-mate and current champion, Jorge Lorenzo was insistent on having his offer drawn up and on the table before he turned a wheel in anger, and it was this insistence from Lorenzo that forced Yamaha’s hand.

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‘I spoke to Yamaha after the test and they said that they were happy for me to continue’, said Rossi before the race at the weekend, ‘the contract was more or less ready and they said to me ‘why wait?’, so we did it!’

Ironically of course, Jorge Lorenzo – despite having been made an offer by Yamaha to continue riding for the team – has yet to put pen to paper.

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