Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis says Valentino Rossi could continue to race in MotoGP beyond 2018. The Italian rider signed a new, two-year contract with Yamaha at the 2016 season opener at Qatar.
At the weekend, Rossi said the 2017-2018 contract would 90% be his last on two wheels. He will turn 39-year-old in 2018 and he joked, "because, after that, you get white hair."
When asked about whether Rossi has a career in MotoGP beyond 2018, Jarvis said, "At the moment, I believe in it. He doesn't see the next two years as the final ones, but he will figure it out when the time comes.
"He is a leader, he starts every season with the belief he can be the champion - as for myself, I have no doubts about that."
The Italian is second in the championship with his teammate Jorge Lorenzo in third. Both of them have lost this year's championship title when Marc Marquez sealed it in Japan with three races to spare.
Movistar Yamaha riders won five of the first seven Grand Prix this year. But since the Catalan Grand Prix in June, neither Rossi or Lorenzo has been victorious.
For next year, Lorenzo is leaving Yamaha for Ducati and in his place, Yamaha has signed Maverick Vinales. The youngster took his first MotoGP victory at Silverstone earlier this year with Suzuki.
Jarvis also said about how the relationship with Rossi and maverick will go, "I hope it will be easier. Jorge arrived as a promising young rider while Vale was the king.
"Nowadays there is a big age difference between Maverick and Valentino, but I know that from the moment Vinales closes the gap on Rossi, the dynamics will change."