Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo team-mates again? ‘'Interesting...'

Could Valentino Rossi find himself paired up with Jorge Lorenzo at Petronas SRT Yamaha for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship?

Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo

Petronas SRT Yamaha boss Razlan Razali says the prospect of having Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo as his team’s rider line-up for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship would be ‘interesting’… but also ‘tricky’.

The Malaysian-backed team is currently on standby as it awaits a decision from Rossi over whether he will join the outfit for 2021 or retire after he was replaced by Fabio Quartararo in the works outfit for next season.

The impending reshuffle comes in a winter that saw Yamaha put pen to paper again with its three-time World Champion Lorenzo, who came out of retirement to return as the team’s test rider a mere two months after saying he would be hanging up his helmet.

With some speculating Lorenzo could use this period to consider returning to MotoGP too, Petronas SRT Yamaha might find itself with the opportunity to sign two hugely successful riders with 14 World Championship titles between them.

Indeed, Rossi has confirmed he would have no problem competing for the satellite squad in 2021, not least because Yamaha has promised it would effectively be a pseudo factory entry anyway, albeit in Petronas SRT colours.

“For me Petronas is the best option,” Rossi said. “The situation is very good. They have a good, young team so they can improve. They have money. They are serious.”

Indeed, Razali admits the prospect of two decorated – albeit ageing – riders on their books represents an ‘interesting proposition’.

"Tricky but interesting at the same time,” he told  “A wheel is yet to turn for 2020 so we are not there yet. We have the tests and a few races until either one of them actually comes up.

“We are not there yet so we are not going to think about it at the moment. But it is an interesting proposition and when the time comes, we will sit down and talk.”

Are we likely to see Rossi vs Lorenzo again?

The idea of Rossi and Lorenzo teaming up again certainly writes a good headline but the reality is perhaps less enticing.

The inter-team rivalry between the pair during their years at Yamaha are the stuff of infamy among fans but if by chance they do end up as Petronas SRT’s line-up in 2021, the stakes aren’t going to be nearly as high and the team is unlikely to be as forgiving towards any animosity.

As it stands, there is a Yamaha M1 there for Rossi if he wants it, but chances are it’ll be Franco Morbidelli on the other side of the garage anyway. The Italian is under a bit of pressure coming into 2020 after being comprehensively outperformed by rookie team-mate Quartararo last year, which in turn saw him leapfrogged in the eyes of Yamaha’s hierarchy.

Even so, on his day Morbidelli is clearly a podium contender and is likely to show that again this year, which means Petronas SRT is unlikely to want to drop him for a more unpredictable option in Lorenzo.

That said, the aforementioned slip in Yamaha’s affections means it’s hard to see where Morbidelli can progress in the near future, which may well prompt him to look elsewhere in the coming months anyway.

If that happens, then Lorenzo could well find a way back into MotoGP… if he wants it.