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Rossi edges towards return, Lecuona out due to COVID contact

Daniel Herrero

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Friday 6th November, 2020 - 10:35am

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Valentino Rossi pic: MotoGP.com

Valentino Rossi has recorded a first negative COVID-19 test ahead of this weekend’s European Grand Prix but Iker Lecuona is out due to close contact with an infected person.

Rossi missed the two Aragon rounds due to contracting the coronavirus and tested positive again on the Tuesday of this week (local time), prompting Yamaha to place Garrett Gerloff on standby.

The first negative result since then means the Italian is allowed to leave isolation, but he must pass another in order to satisfy championship protocols.

“Today (Thursday 5th November), Valentino Rossi has taken a PCR test and the result came back negative for the COVID-19 virus,” read a statement from the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team.

“As per the Italian law, the Yamaha rider is now allowed to end his self-isolation and take part in everyday society again. Rossi will take this opportunity to fly to Valencia, Spain, this evening.

“Tomorrow (Friday 6th November), he will do a second PCR test and if the result is negative again, he will be able to reunite with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team and take part in this weekend‘s Gran Premio de Europa.

“Should Rossi test positive tomorrow, then standby replacement rider Garrett Gerloff will take his place.”

Rossi’s COVID-19 infection is one of two sagas involving Yamaha on the eve of the European Grand Prix.

The Japanese marque has lost its lead in the Constructor Championship after being docked points, as were Monster Energy Yamaha and Petronas Yamaha SRT as teams, due to a technical breach.

There is no effect on the riders’ standings, however, meaning the championship hopes of Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Viñales, and Franco Morbidelli, are still alive.

Yamaha is not the only operation to have been dealt a blow ahead of the first of two MotoGP rounds at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Red Bull KTM Tech3 is down to one entry for at least this weekend after Lecuona’s brother, with whom the Spaniard lives in Andorra, tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are very sad to announce that Iker Lecuona won’t be participating in the Gran Premio de Europa this weekend,” said Team Manager Herve Poncharal.

“So far, he’s been tested negative, but his brother, who is also his assistant, is positive and therefore the Andorran authorities have called him ‘contact case’.

“He will have another test today, but even if it’s negative again, he’s got to stay in quarantine without moving from his home in Andorra for 10 days.

“The plan is to have another test next Wednesday and if this one is negative as well, he will be able to travel to Valencia and participate in Valencia II.

“This is very unfortunate, everybody was very careful. We are deeply sorry for that. We just hope that Iker will keep negative on the next tests and that we can see him next week here.

“Don’t forget, this is his home grand prix and him and the team were expecting so much from these two races, that it’s a real pity. But with how the world is at the moment, unfortunate things like this are happening.

“Again, we hope everything will be back to normal next week.

“Of course, he won’t be replaced for this event, therefore the whole Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team will concentrate on our sole rider, Miguel Oliveira.”

Practice in Valencia starts tonight (AEDT).

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