MotoGP

Could Dovizioso join PSRT Yamaha instead of Rossi for 2021 MotoGP?

Petronas SRT Yamaha boss Razlan Razali insists Andrea Dovizioso is not in the team's 2021 MotoGP plans amid ongoing delays to its Valentino Rossi deal

Petrronas SRT Yamaha boss Razlan Razali has stepped forward to pour cold water on growing speculation his team could swoop in and make a bid for Andrea Dovizioso at the behest of Valentino Rossi.

The soon-to-be-ex Ducati rider remains a free agent for 2021 despite being among the favourites for this year’s title after opting to sever ties with the Italian manufacturer because it wouldn’t honour contractual demands it offered him prior to the coronavirus crisis.

Though Dovizioso has remained relatively coy as to his potential plans for 2021, instead saying there are some ‘interesting offers’ coming his way, speculation is growing that he could be in for a shock switch to the Petronas SRT Yamaha squad.

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This would ultimately come at the expense of Rossi, whose much expected agreement with the satellite Yamaha squad hasn’t materialised as yet despite the man himself insisting the deal is ‘99% certain’.

Ahead of Dovizioso and Rossi’s home MotoGP round in Misano though, Petronas SRT Yamaha boss has taken to social media to scotch rumours of a change in strategy.

"Setting the record straight, we are not considering Dovi at all for 2021."

Could Andrea Dovizioso really land the Petronas SRT Yamaha ride?

If there is one thing you learn working in MotoGP, it is that while some rumours are just that, what team bosses and riders say isn’t always gospel… increasingly less so in what has been an unpredictable 2020 season.

That said, the more likely reason for the delay to Rossi’s 2021 MotoGP deal is because of a complex legal process required to land his signature when the man himself wields as much power and influence as a manufacturer like Yamaha and a main backer like Petronas.

Lin Jarvis says the proceedings are lengthy but heading in the right direction, while there is little question that Rossi is committed to riding for the Malaysian-financed outfit in 2021.

That said, Razali hasn’t always waxed lyrical about the prospect of Rossi coming on board, suggesting it isn’t quite the team’s objective to take on seasoned riders, instead preferring develop new talent like Fabio Quartararo. Then again, Dovizioso is hardly in the first flush of youth either.

Moreover, Petronas SRT Yamaha may baulk at the idea of Rossi bringing a wave of people with him, which Razali has intimated could upset a team that has so far out-performed the Factory outfit in 2021.

In short, if Rossi’s expectations and terms go too far, Petronas SRT is in a fairly good bargaining position to hold out… even if it wouldn’t necessarily make it the most popular team among fans or Dorna.

What next for Andrea Dovizioso?

Right now, Dovizioso’s best hope of a ride in 2021 is the factory Aprilia spot held vacant for Andrea Iannone, but it would take the manufacturer to go back on its word to the currently suspended rider to get the 15-time race winner.

Many though believe Aprilia would be missing out on a huge opportunity to not make a play for Dovizioso - including its own rider Aleix Espargaro - not least because there is no guarantee Iannone will be cleared to race, so waiting until October could see it lose both options.

Beyond Aprilia, KTM says it won’t make a bid for Dovizioso by nudging aside Iker Lecuona, while the rider himself says reconciling with Ducati also isn’t an option in response to comments made by Marco Melandri predicting his exit isn’t a sure thing.
 

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