MotoGP

Yamaha Petronas SRT waiting on Rossi 2021 plans

The Yamaha Petronas SRT team have said they have a place for Valentino Rossi in 2021 but that he needs to confirm his plans

WITH the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team unable to wait for Valentino Rossi to make his decision on his future in 2021 or beyond, the team’s hand was forced to sign up Fabio Quartararo alongside Maverick Vinales instead.

As a backup plan, a place in the satellite Petronas SRT team was put to the Italian legend, although even now, they are stating they need Rossi to commit to his future so a final decision can be made.

Rossi had planned to use the beginning of the 2020 season as a sort of performance barometer as to his pace relative to his championship rivals. Giving him a baseline of performance on the factory bike that would enable himself and his inner team to decide on his potential for 2021. With the global COVID-19 pandemic putting paid to any form of racing in the early part of 2020, Rossi can’t make that decision based on current performance.

The current hiatus in global motorsport does though take some of the pressure off Rossi, as currently contract negotiations are all on hold, meaning he has perhaps a little more time to make a final decision.

While it seems likely that Rossi will indeed race on into 2021, Sepang team principal Razlan Razali, seems keen to open discussions with the seven-time champion.

"I keep checking my phone every day and so far, I haven’t seen anything! I'm hoping that at least Valentino will send a WhatsApp or something!" joked Razali, during an interview with Crash.net.

"So far nothing, so we are keeping it open for him.

"If it happens, it's something that we will definitely look at. We will not shut it and ignore it. He is a nine-time world champion and carries a lot of weight in terms of marketing and exposure.

"But we really need to understand the deal. What are the dos and don’ts? We need to understand what he wants."

What problems could the Rossi move create?

It’s understood that should Rossi move to the Petronas Yamaha team, he’ll still be on a factory Yamaha contract. Meaning that both Yamaha and SRT must approve the move.

Then the issue arises of what sort of deal the rider will have, one year seems obvious although a two year deal would be more common for a rider of Rossi’s standing – although that rests on him committing to a further twelve months taking him into 2022.

All of these questions will obviously become more clearly answered as and when The Doctor makes his final choice.

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