PSRT boss softens Rossi exit reports, but says team in MotoGP to help new talent

Petronas SRT Yamaha boss says team hasn't decided on Valentino Rossi's future for 2022 but emphasises multiple champion is an exception to its youth-orientated MotoGP rule

Valentino Rossi - Petronas SRT Yamaha 2021.jpg

Petronas SRT Yamaha boss Razlan Razali has moved to downplay quotes he was reported to have given that suggested his team was already making plans to replace Valentino Rossi rather than wait for the Italian to decide whether or not to race on in MotoGP next season.

According to two sources published in his native Malaysia - Kosmo and Mekanika - and picked up elsewhere, Razali supposedly claimed PSRT:

“...refuse to wait too long for Rossi’s decision as to whether or not he wants to continue racing next season. Through discussions with the management we have unanimously agreed not to continue the contract with Rossi for the 2022 season. 

“Therefore we will return to focus on our goal of finding the best young riders to fill the vacancy.”

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During this weekend German MotoGP, Razali insisted he was misunderstood as he denied a final decision had been made over Rossi’s future, either by the team or by the man himself. The Italian has previously said he wants to wait until summer to formalise his plans.

“We have not yet determined our driver lineup for the 2022 season,” he is quoted by “However once the relationship with Valentino comes to an end, we expect to return to focus on our goal of finding the best young drivers"

However, while Razali moves to soften the rhetoric of the original piece, he remains steadfast in his view that Petronas SRT Yamaha should be focused primarily on evolving new talent, much as it has done with Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo.

Scoring three wins apiece in 2020, Morbidelli was runner-up last season on a year-old Yamaha M1, while Quartararo has already achieved 15 pole positions and six wins in just two and a half seasons. The Frenchman, who was promoted to Yamaha Factory rider for 2021 currently leads the standings by 22 points after eight races. 

With Quartararo plucked from relative obscurity to blossom into MotoGP’s next superstar, his is an an example Razali is keen to replicate in future, with Xavi Vierge tipped as the rider most likely to land any vacant Petronas SRT seat next season.

“Our rider selection philosophy has been the same from the beginning: the development of talent. 

“Working with Valentino Rossi was a great opportunity for the team and this relationship has allowed the team to grow but choosing a more experienced driver is an exception. We expect to favour young people in the future.”