The ageless Valentino Rossi is committed to racing on in MotoGP and, while he has no illusions about the enormity of the task, beating Spanish speedster Marc Marquez remains a primary goal.
At least in one race, or two, although even Rossi admits that wonder boy Marquez, 21, currently appears unbeatable.
Rossi expects to ink his new deal "within weeks" and a formal announcement could come as soon as at his home race, the Italian GP at Mugello, on June 1.
At 35 Rossi says that his performances this season, in which he has two podiums and gone head-on in some close battles with Marquez, have convinced him to race until he is 37.
"I enjoy a lot to continue to race and work with Yamaha and my team so my goal is to make another contract of two seasons. In the next weeks I will speak with Yamaha to continue," Rossi said.
His unshakeable enthusiasm for bike racing extends to an optimism that he can fight for a win against Marquez who has been untouchable this season, winning four out-of-four races.
It gives Marquez a perfect score of 100 in the championship, 28 ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa with Rossi third on 61 points.
Rossi feels the next sequence of races, starting with Sunday’s French GP at Le Mans, could provide the opportunity to test Marquez’s unbeatable tag.
"I like Le Mans and have had good results in the past but after that arrives the best tracks for me, the ones I like more – Mugello, Barcelona and Assen," Rossi said.
"I was quite competitive at these tracks last year. I am quite confident that I can fight with everybody because I am faster this year and I hope also with Marquez.
"It is bad to say unbeatable in any sport but it is true at this moment. Marquez is unbeatable because he has four poles and four victories but I will try to beat him.
"Marquez is unbeatable but not unbeatable."
And Rossi, the last rider to win five races in a row (in 2008), understands better than anyone the massive mental strength and confidence that comes with winning.
Marquez will bid for his fifth straight win this season at Le Mans this Sunday, Rossi’s agenda notwithstanding.
"I feel very good and I enjoy riding and because of that I do good results," said Rossi.
"But it always depends on your speed on the track. When you are fast like Marquez your mental condition is very good, when you are slow like me when I was at Ducati the mental condition is more difficult."
Rossi’s nightmare and winless two seasons at Ducati (2011 and ’12) are now behind him and he has been transformed this year, his second season back at Yamaha.
He won just one race in 2013, the Dutch TT at Assen, and still wants to add to his career total of 80 MotoGP race wins.