Valentino Rossi vows to push hard after PSRT boss questions motivation

Petronas SRT boss Razlan Razali says he won't overhaul his team just for Valentino Rossi... but the Italian does agree with him

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP 1200

Valentino Rossi has vowed he will enter the Petronas SRT Yamaha team with his targets set firmly on fulfilling and exceeding the outfit’s high expectations after question marks were raised over whether he’d be motivated to push on.

The Italian is understood to be closing on a deal to race with the satellite Yamaha outfit for at least one season in 2021, swapping positions with Fabio Quartararo who heads in the other direction to the factory team.

Rossi had originally planned to make his decision now after a handful of races to determine whether he felt he had the speed and the motivation to extend his career further. However, with no racing taking place, Rossi has been forced to make a blind decision, even if he has more recently intimated he will indeed carry on.

Even so, the details of his move to Petronas SRT Yamaha remain somewhat shrouded in unanswered questions, particularly for PSRT boss Razlan Razali.

Over the weekend, the Malaysian team owner admitted he hadn’t even spoken to Rossi as yet and while it is committed to helping Yamaha as its customer support, he emphasises that the team should be independent in its choices, saying he won’t change the team ‘360-degrees’ just because he is Rossi.

Nonetheless, those firm words have found favour from Rossi himself, who insists he won’t ease the tempo of his performances because he is competing in potentially his final season and will give Petronas SRT Yamaha the results it is after.

"I like a lot his words, because for me it's exactly the same,” Rossi said. “I don’t want to go to Petronas just to make my last season, or just to say 'ciao'.

"So if I race, I will give 100% and I will race if I understand inside myself that I can be competitive and fight for the podium. This is for sure and I fully agree with Razlan.

“My plan was very clear; change something in the team and wait until the summer to understand if I can be more competitive than last year," he said. "Because this for me is crucial. So I want to continue, but only if I'm strong.

"Unfortunately, with this [coronavirus] situation I have to decide without races, so it's a bit more difficult. I just have to think more and try to understand more inside of me if I have enough strength, enough motivation.
"I have a good opportunity with the Petronas team, that I think is a top-level team as they demonstrated last year with Quartararo and Franco.

“It's a young team with younger guys around, but also a lot of people I already know and a great sponsor in Petronas.

"So I think it's a very good option. Now I just have to decide inside of me if I have enough motivation to continue."

Razlan Razali lays down his markers for Valentino Rossi

While Yamaha has always spoken about Rossi to Petronas SRT Yamaha as being a done deal should he accept it, read between the lines of Razali’s comments in the media and one can tell he feels somewhat uninvolved in an important decision affecting his team.

Rossi to Petronas SRT was always likely to happen but while Rossi might look ‘bigger’ than the team itself, it’s easy to forget its riders were out-performing the factory-equipped Rossi for much of 2019. With that in mind, is signing Rossi a potential performance step back?

On the other hand, a change of scenery and less pressure may bring out the best in Rossi… and he is always at his best when he has something to prove.