Seven-time MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi is beginning talks with Yamaha’s sister team, Petronas SRT, for the 2021 MotoGP season. Earlier, we mentioned that Rossi will move his retirement to the end of 2021. Now he has begun negotiations with Petronas SRT for what could be his final MotoGP season.
Last year, Rossi was already contemplating retirement. However, due to his indecisiveness, the Yamaha team decided to sign on the much sought-after Fabio Quartararo for the 2021 season. This left Rossi without a seat, however Yamaha promised him continued support at its sister team, Petronas SRT.
The veteran wanted to use the first few races of the 2020 season to evaluate his performance with the Yamaha team and the viability of staying competitive in the coming seasons. However, with many of the races of this season cancelled due to the pandemic, that is no longer possible.
Petronas SRT, for its part, is delighted with the move, noting that Valentino’s popularity, performance, and exposure will add great value to the team. However, it is also wary of some of Rossi’s conditions, such as bringing in some of his technical staff and equipment, as well as matching with sponsors.
Petronas SRT head, Razlan Razali noted that, when a rider changes teams, he also brings along some of his crew, and equipment he is comfortable working with. While this is common practice, Razali also wants to retain the effectiveness of both Yamaha and Petronas’ established team and technical structure. He suggested that Rossi bring just two or three of his original Yamaha crew over.
Razali believes that Rossi will most likely bring in members of his core crew: new crew chief David Muñoz and long-time mechanic, Alex Briggs.
Over at Petronas SRT, Rossi’s team mate will be Franco Morbidelli, the 2017 Moto2 World Champion.