Valentino Rossi open to riding on beyond 2018

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MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi has suggested he may yet continue his career beyond 2018 if he continues to prove competitive at the highest level.

A seven-time world champion in the premier class, Rossi sits third in this year's standings - just seven points behind leader Andrea Dovizioso - after claiming victory in Assen last weekend.

The 38-year-old's current deal with Yamaha is due to expire at the end of next season, but Rossi has indicated he is keen to carry on for as long as possible.

In an interview on the official MotoGP website, the popular Italian said: "When I signed this contract, I think 'maybe it is the last one', but I wasn't sure. It depends on a lot [of things].

"I will decide next season, the beginning of next season - but if I'm still competitive and able to win, I want to continue.

"When you have a good result everything is more easy, but the passion for riding the motorcycle and being in the sport at the top level is great.

"And sometimes you forget the effort, you forget the travel, the trips, the hours in the airport, and everything else, because this is the great passion."

Rossi was off the pace on Friday in practice for this weekend's German Grand Prix.