A week after leaving Honda, world champion Valentino Rossi has officially been confirmed to ride for Yamaha in the next two MotoGP seasons.

A week after leaving Honda, world champion Valentino Rossi has officially been confirmed to ride for Yamaha in the next two MotoGP seasons.

Despite comments from Rossi when announcing his departure from Honda last week, he could not confirm his destination until his contract with them expires on December 31.

However, managing director of Yamaha Racing, Lin Jarvis has said: "We are all extremely happy that Valentino will be joining Yamaha in 2004 ... In our discussions with him it is clear that he relishes the challenge of achieving our goal in MotoGP as much as we do. He is an incredible talent and will make a huge difference."

"Obviously, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we are confident that we can give Valentino the means to achieve more world championships and we look forward to the challenge ahead. This is a very important step in our plan to re-establish Yamaha as a leading force in Grand Prix racing," he added.

With the two-year deal, Rossi will move to the factory team alongside Carlos Checa, who has reacted enthusiastically to the signing of his new team-mate.

Responding to the news, he said that the addition of the World Champion to the Yamaha factory squad would benefit him and the Yamaha team in general.

" I would like to welcome Valentino to the team and express my delight at this news," said Checa. "I have always wanted the best alongside me and I think that this is the ideal way to progress as a rider and as a team. I hope that we work well together and make the Yamaha a winning machine once more, to bring back happy times to the factory and the sponsors."

Checa's 2003 team-mate, Marco Melandri, will move to Herve Poncharal's Tech 3 outfit, though Yamaha hasn't announced who Melandri's team-mate will be. Both Alex Barros and Olivier Jacque are rumoured to be leaving, with the Brazilian a strong possibility for Rossi's vacant Repsol Honda seat.

Original article from Car