Petronas SRT vs own rider Rossi for Yamaha 2022 MotoGP satellite supply

Petronas SRT finds itself in the strange position of fighting its own rider Valentino Rossi and his VR46 team to secure a satellite Yamaha supply for MotoGP 2022

Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales - Yamaha, Petronas SRT, VR46


Petronas SRT boss Wilco Zeelenberg says it is the team’s intention to renew its contract with Yamaha for the next five years, but finds itself in the unusual position of rivalling its own rider Valentino Rossi for the firm’s affections.

The Malaysian-backed team made its MotoGP debut in 2019, taking over the Yamaha satellite contract from Tech 3 after it defected to KTM. In little more than two seasons the team has established itself as the satellite standard, going on to win six races in 2020 and securing the runners-up spot with Franco Morbidelli

Indeed, Petronas SRT’s results have outshone the Factory team on numerous occasions, though the loss of Fabio Quartararo to the manufacturer set up - which in turn led to Valentino Rossi going the other way - has tipped the balance back in the latter’s favour.

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However, while KTM, Ducati and Honda have confirmed or are set to confirm no change in their satellite affiliations (Tech 3, Pramac and LCR), there remains a big question mark over Yamaha amid ongoing talks with Petronas SRT and Valentino Rossi’s incoming VR46 Racing outfit.

With Rossi on the Petronas SRT in what is tipped to become his final season racing in MotoGP, he is yet to decide whether VR46 opts the Ducati deal on the table or push for Yamaha machinery in place of his current employers.

It appears to put Petronas SRT in what could be described in an awkward position, but Zeelenberg is confident Yamaha will stick with what has been a successful relationship so far, despite the obvious allure of Rossi.

“We have signed an agreement with Dorna to be in MotoGP also for the next five years. There are many things to be established and defined now. Starting with the bikes we will use.”

“As far as we are concerned, the partnership with Yamaha has brought excellent results and we would like to continue with them. It is known, however, that Valentino Rossi is also in talks.”

What are Petronas SRT’s alternative options?

With Yamaha seemingly unwilling to expand to six bikes for 2022, Petronas SRT will be looking increasingly anxiously at developing a contingency plan if finds itself ousted in favour of VR46.

While one might question the wisdom of Yamaha parting ways with such a successful collaborator, there may be some frustration with the big budget privateer outfit proving as quick - if not quicker - than the in-house set up.

It is for these reasons though that other manufacturers will no doubt eye up PSRT as a huge asset to any line-up, with the most obvious beneficiary to such a deal being Suzuki. The 2020 World Champions have resisted swelling beyond its two factory bikes but has repeatedly said it is evaluating the prospect, 

With this in mind, a well-sorted, well-funded privateer effort seems an ideal way for it to make doubling its resource and presence on the grid worth it.

Elsewhere, Ducati has said it is willing to go up to eight bikes for 2022, while Aprilia is still looking for a potential satellite option next season, even if Gresini is most likely in line for that.

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