MotoGP

Yamaha expects Valentino Rossi to race on because MotoGP will need him

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis believes Valentino Rossi will race on into the 2021 MoroGP season partly because the sport will need him to recover from 2020

Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis believes Valentino Rossi will formally confirm he will race on into the 2021 MotoGP season because it wouldn’t be ‘fair’ for him to end his career with such a disrupted season, while the sport itself will need its biggest star to the series recover.

The enforced racing hiatus brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has thrown Rossi’s plans to use five or six races to determine whether he’ll call an end to his or continue racing into disarray.

With MotoGP moving slowly towards firming up a calendar laden with races deep into the second-half of the year, Rossi won’t have the luxury of waiting for track action to begin in order to make a decision because Yamaha won’t have the best chance to facilitate either his move to Petronas SRT Yamaha or find a competitive replacement.

As such, Jarvis expects Rossi to stick to his original deadline of deciding by June despite no track action being able to take place until after that time.

"It is a topic we are talking about at Yamaha and I expect a deal with him shortly. We are entering a phase in which we must look to the future. His plan was to decide at the end of June or even earlier, after five or six races. Now, Vale will have to decide if he wants to move forward and then together we will have to find a way to do it. It will happen before he starts riding again, I'm sure."

Moreover, after Rossi gave the clearest indication yet that he will continue into 2021 over the weekend, Jarvis also believes the Italian will want to use his star power to help MotoGP get back on its feet after what has been such a turbulent year.

“He will only run if he still feels competitive. My wish is that he will continue because ending his career like this, with less races and without spectators, would not be fair for a Champion like him. And it would also apply to our sport: we will need to start again with confidence, with people in the stands, and Vale on track is something that we will need."

Is the Valentino Rossi ‘Farewell Tour’ coming in 2021?

While Rossi has held onto the idea he will get some races under his belt before making a call on his career, that wish appears to be fading quickly and he will instead need to base his judgement on what his head and heart is telling him.

Though the Italian is unlikely enamoured by the prospect of ending his career with a decline of form into 2021 as he evidently fears, he will likely see the bigger picture of what he can do to help the sport pick itself up and dust itself off.

This will be a lot easier with its biggest star on the grid, potentially more so if 2021 is billed from the start as being his absolute last in the sport.

Yamaha may be looking a little forceful in demanding a decision by the summer, but the reality is that timeline gives it the best possible shot of ensuring he gets the best possible team around him at Petronas SRT. Alternatively, it gives it some options in case Rossi does indeed decide to call it a day.

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