The Doctor’s new coat: Valentino Rossi makes Petronas SRT bow

Valentino Rossi celebrates the turn of a new year with a new contract and some fresh colours courtesy of his switch to the Petronas SRT Yamaha team for MotoGP 2021

Valentino Rossi - Petronas SRT Yamaha

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Valentino Rossi in anything other than his navy blue Yamaha Factory wares but as the clock struck midnight to welcome in 2021, he officially became a Petronas SRT Yamaha rider.

The seven-time premier class GP champion brought his long and immensely successful tenure with the Yamaha Factory to a close at the end of 2020 in favour of a swap to the sister Malaysian-financed Petronas SRT Yamaha squad, trading places with Fabio Quartararo who heads in the other direction.

Only his fifth change of team in more than 20 years at the highest level, to mark the momentous occasion he popped in a special New Year’s greeting video on the Petronas SRT Yamaha social media channels to show off his new colours… albeit splashed with his customary yellow.

“Happy New Year everyone, I am very happy to join Petronas Sepang Racing team for 2021. I have seen what the team has done over the last two years so I am excited to see what we can do together. I can’t wait to work with the team and get out on track.”

In what is predicted to be his final stint in MotoGP before retiring (one or two years), Rossi will partner with VR46 protege and 2020 MotoGP runner-up Franco Morbidelli.

The 2021 MotoGP season will also see Rossi compete with his brother Luca Marini for the first time, who steps up to the premier class with Avintia Racing on a Ducati wearing the colours of Rossi’s VR46 Sky Italia team sponsors.

It is anticipated VR46 Sky Italia will step up to MotoGP outright in 2022, potentially with Rossi in a team management role.