The changes Valentino Rossi is making to bounce back in 2020 MotoGP

The talk may be all about retirement but Valentino Rossi is working hard behind the scenes to improve his fortunes for the 2020 MotoGP season

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP

While Valentino Rossi has remained coy on the prospect of retiring from MotoGP at the end of the 2020 season, speculation remains rife that he will call time on his spectacular career within the next twelve months based on a run of disappointing seasons.

However, it is worth noting Rossi heads into the 2020 MotoGP with perhaps one of biggest internal shake-ups yet, bringing on David Munoz as his crew chief and being a primary architect behind a new generation Yamaha M1 that errs more towards power than handling.

Indeed, there is little denying Rossi endured a tough 2019 season with his victory drought extending by another year and his pair of podiums a scant return relative to double winner Maverick Vinales, not to mention the six poles and seven podiums of rookie Fabio Quartararo.

Having ended the year as the third best-placed Yamaha rider, momentum has therefore built behind the prospect of a MotoGP without its ‘Doctor’ based on dwindling results. In retort of this assertion though, Rossi has been busy behind the scenes adjusting the set pieces in an effort to improve his fortunes next year with presumably longer-term goals.

Key to this is Rossi’s new crew chief, the relatively inexperienced Munoz, who is promoted from the VR46 set up to replace Silvano Galbusera. An attempt to install some fresh new ideas into an experienced, but stagnating set-up behind the scenes, Rossi admits Munoz will need time but is excited about working more closely with him.

“In our sport, like in the rest of life, if you have a good result, everything is good. But if you suffer, everything becomes more difficult, But the guys [in the team] are happy,” he told

"David is a young chief mechanic so it's very interesting also for me. It's like the 'new generation' of chief mechanic. This is good. I like it," Rossi said. "But we need time, and especially he needs time to understand me and learn more the M1.

"But I think if we are strong and competitive, morale is not a problem!"

“For us, my team, these two tests were important, especially for two things. The first is David, the new chief mechanic and the way to work with him. Because the work in the box has changed a little bit and under this point of view we are all very happy. We need time, he needs time, but we have a good feeling.”

While Maverick Vinales looked to be right up to speed on the 2020-spec Yamaha M1 during post-season testing in Spain, his assessment of the machine wasn’t all that glowing. It’s a sentiment shared with Rossi, who – together with his team-mate – has been campaigning for a machine that can go toe-to-toe with Honda and Ducati on the straights.

It’s a philosophy that Rossi is hoping will help push the M1 more towards his riding style and help him rediscover the form that kept him at the top of the pile for such a long period.

“The feeling with the new bike is quite positive, under some points of view the bike has improved, but the bike still has some problems and also we need to make a bigger step. So we are not so bad with the new bike, but we still have some work."

Traditionally Rossi has spent the winter periods negotiating new contracts, which means he may be coming towards a decision about his future beyond 2020 even before he gets stuck into work with Munoz. The next few months could be a very interesting time for the Italian…