Petronas SRT Yamaha boss still not sold on Valentino Rossi 2021 move

Petronas SRT boss Razlan Razali says the team is focused on developing young talent and that talks with Yamaha over Valentino Rossi haven't happened yet

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP 1200

Petronas SRT Yamaha boss Razlan Razali sent out a clear signal that his team isn’t working towards the single possibility of Valentino Rossi joining the satellite outfit in 2021, revealing talks still haven’t yet taken place.

Speaking in a Q&A with fans, Razali says he hopes to have the Petronas SRT Yamaha rider line-up confirmed by July-August, around the time the 2020 MotoGP season is expected to begin after long delays caused by the coronavirus.

That timeline would seem to fit well with Rossi’s claim he’ll make a decision on his future – retirement or racing on – around then, most likely before any races do eventually get underway.

As it stands, Yamaha has repeatedly stated it intends to place Rossi in the Petronas SRT outfit with a full-factory bike, though Razali has been rather more hesitant when talking about getting the Italian on board.

Revealing no talks are yet to take place between himself and Yamaha over the prospect, the Malaysian says he is instead focusing his attentions on ensuring Petronas SRT is a base from which to develop young talent, highlighting the team’s Moto2 rider Xavi Vierge as a possible candidate.

"To be honest we have a few riders on our radar this year, Moto2 riders, including our own Xavi Vierge.

"But then again, with no racing at the moment and potentially only ten races this season - and of course, the talk of Valentino Rossi coming with us, it's an open possibility.

"At the moment we don't know yet - and that's an honest answer - but we will look at all options and I think by July-August we'll have to decide what we're going to do as a replacement for Fabio [Quartararo]."

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Franco Morbidelli still factors into Petronas SRT’s plans. The Italian was signed as de facto team leader on 2019-spec machinery last year but was comfortably out-performed by Quartararo.

While the pair will remain team-mates in 2020, Quartararo will move on to the Yamaha Factory team in 2021, leaving Morbidelli – who is out of contract at the end of the year – in some limbo.