Seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi said on Thursday that he is "99 percent" sure he will move to Yamaha-Petronas next year, although no contract has yet been signed,
The 42-year-old Italian told a press conference ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix that rumours he planned to retire were untrue.
"We are taking our time in our discussions with Yamaha because we have time," he said. "But I can say that I will be 99 percent with Yamaha Petronas next year."
Rossi is in the seventh year of his second stint with the Yamaha factory team but is due to be replaced by Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, who currently rides for the satellite Yamaha-Petronas team.
Rossi said he was looking forward to Sunday's race because he lives 10 kilometres from the Misano circuit and it is his "home" race and spectators will attend for the first time this season.
A crowd of about 10,000 spectators will be allowed into the circuit.
"It's a step in the right direction," said Rossi, who is particularly popular with fans.