Valentino Rossi says MotoGP's impending move to 1000cc engines could convince him to stay on longer in the motorcycle racing.
The 30-year-old Italian's current contract with Yamaha expires this season, and while he is expected to sign a new MotoGP deal – either with Yamaha or Ducati – after that, he has admitted that he is getting closer to the end of his MotoGP career. Rossi has previously hinted at an eventual move to the World Rally Championship, and also continues to be linked to a Formula 1 drive with Ferrari, a prospect he has played down.
Yet Rossi – who has criticized the current MotoGP technical rules for providing insufficient challenge for riders – says his motorcycling career could be prolonged by the forthcoming change from 800cc to 1000cc power, which will take place in 2012 at the latest.
"Theoretically, I am very happy to go back to the 1000cc, because I like it more than 800cc and it is more fun," he said. "Of course we will have to see how the technical regulation will be for these engines and we will have to see whether they are fast and fun to ride like they were in 2006.
"Anyway, going back to 1000cc is an important challenge, as far as my motivation are concerned, and may convince me to stay in MotoGP for longer."
While Rossi is excited by the 1000cc rule change, he expressed his frustration at the long-life engine regulations that will see each rider having to make six engines last for the whole 2010 season - in a cost-cutting move similar to Formula 1's engine usage restrictions.
"This rule is not fantastic for MotoGP," Rossi said. "It will make everybody's lives very difficult. To me it is not right that MotoGP has six engines only for the entire season – it is too tight. The rule is aimed to save money, but I think engines should be at least eight; 10 would be easier and less risky.
"All manufacturers will have to adapt to the new rule and all riders will have to be careful, in order to save the engines and arrive at the end of the season with six engines only."