OFFICIAL (finally): Valentino Rossi joins Petronas SRT Yamaha for 2021 MotoGP

After months of delays, Valentino Rossi is 100% confirmed to be on the 2021 MotoGP grid aboard the Petronas SRT Yamaha after 15 seasons with Factory team

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP

Valentino Rossi is now officially confirmed to be making the move to the Petronas SRT Yamaha team for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship after the two parties ended months of speculation by putting pen to paper ahead of the Catalunya MotoGP.

It’s the final chapter in what has been a long-running saga of decision making and negotiations for Rossi, who discovered back in January he’d be on his way out of the Yamaha Factory team to make way for the incoming Fabio Quartararo.

At the same time though, Rossi took time to decide whether to continue on - with a guaranteed factory Yamaha under the very capable Petronas SRT set up - or bring his illustrious career to an end. It was a situation complicated further when the coronavirus pandemic pushed things back even further. 

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More recently though it’s been a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Rossi would swap teams, even if the complex negotiations between himself, Yamaha and Petronas, as well as disagreements on whether Rossi could bring certain team members with him, as said to have accounted for the delays.

Nonetheless, as the 2020 MotoGP season reaches the half-way stage in Spain, Rossi is now formally confirmed to be ending his latest stint with the Yamaha Factory - eight seasons this time -- in favour of the grey and green hues of Petronas SRT, where he will be given factory-machinery. In all, he has started 15 seasons for the Yamaha Factory.

"I am very happy to continue riding in 2021 and to do it with the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team," Rossi commented. "I thought a lot before taking this decision, because the challenge is getting hotter and hotter. To be at the top in MotoGP you have to work a lot and hard, to train every day and lead an ’athlete's life‘, but I still like it and I still want to ride.

"In the first half of the year I made my choice and I talked with Yamaha, who agreed with me. They told me even if there was no place for me in the Factory Team, the factory bike and the factory support were guaranteed.

"I am very happy to move to Petronas Yamaha SRT. They are young, but they‘ve shown to be a top team. They are very serious and very well organised. For this year I also changed my crew chief. I‘m very happy with David, and I think we haven‘t reached our best yet. This was one of the reasons why I chose to continue, because the atmosphere in the team is something I like a lot.

"It‘ll be nice to have Franco as my team-mate, as he‘s an Academy rider, it‘s going to be cool. I think we can work together to make good things happen."

For now it is just a one-year deal with Rossi intimating he could go into next season having decided it will be his last after what will then be 25 years in the international GP ranks.