Valentino Rossi expects to sign a contract which will prolong his MotoGP career at this weekend’s Catalunya Grand Prix.
The 41-year-old is poised to ink a deal which will see him move from the factory Yamaha team to race for SRT in 2021.
Such an agreement has been a long time coming, with one of his associates predicting it would be reached in June, and Rossi himself declaring it a “99 percent” chance in July.
“Like I said last week, we try to sign during the weekend, between the Misano races we fix everything, also in the last days,” explained the Italian.
“The situation is very clear, I will race with Petronas (SRT) next year, but the contract is a little bit long and there’s something to fix.
“But we’re not in a rush because we already agree, but I think during this weekend I will sign the contract and I’m very happy to continue next year with Yamaha and Petronas.”
Rossi revealed that the contract would only be for a single season, rather than one year with an option for another, but insists that 2021 will not necessarily be his final MotoGP campaign.
“We also talked about making a 1+1 contract, but in the end we decided to do only one year for now,” he stated.
“Contract says that if everyone is happy – both me, Yamaha and Petronas – we can continue.
“It depends a lot on my results in the first part of the season, then in the summer break we will decide together.
“If I go strong next year, I do podiums and fight to stay in the top five of the championship, I can also continue.
“It’s not a real option, because that’s usually a more precise thing. The contract only says that if we are all happy, then we can continue.
“At first, I was almost angry with Yamaha, because it seemed a dry one-year contract, which was certainly the last.
“But I told them that it will certainly not be the last and that we will have to see how I go.
“They understood, but we have decided on a one-year contract and then let’s see.”
The delay in signing the contract is due at least in part to details about which staff Rossi might take across from Yamaha Factory Racing to SRT.
Crew chief David Muñoz, data engineer Matteo Flamigni, and performance analyst Idalio Manuel Davira will follow the seven-time premier class champion across.
However, Rossi expressed sadness that Australian Alex Briggs and New Zealander Brent Stephens, currently his mechanics, will not.
“I’m very sorry, especially for Alex and Brent, because they wanted to come with me,” he said.
“Alex had always told me that he would be there as long as I ran, and then he would stop with me.
“Brent also more or less said the same. It will be sad not to have them next year and maybe not to do the last race together, so I’m very sorry.
“I tried, but in Petronas there are also other people working there and unfortunately it was not possible.
“(I will) have Matteo, David and Idalio, but I will be very sorry not to have Alex and Brent, because now when I enter the garage it is a bit like being at home. They are not mechanics, they are family members now, because we have been together for 20 years.
“It will be sad not to have them next year.”