What a difference a year makes.
One year ago the suggestion that nine time world champion Valentino Rossi deserved a new two year deal with Yamaha was not one met with a chorus of agreement. Last season Rossi was coming off two bad years on the Ducati and was flip-floping between being race win competitive--at Assen--and being basically a fourth or fifth place rider. Twelve months ago Marquez was on fire, Lorenzo was fighting the good fight with an injured shoulder and Rossi looked a little like an old race horse.
One year later, Rossi has shagged his longtime crewchief Jeremy Burgess and looks years younger. A race win has eluded him in 2014, thus far, but Rossi has managed to be, at a lot of races, the next-fastest rider behind wunderkid Marc Marquez.
The Mugello round of the MotoGP championship is a special place for Italian Rossi and there is widespread speculation that he and Yamaha will announce this week, a new two year contract.
In 2014 he's earned it and deserves it.