Mid-year call on Rossi’s MotoGP future
By Mat Coch
Friday 5th February, 2021 - 2:19pm
Valentino Rossi will make a call on his MotoGP future part way through the 2021 season.
That’s the claim on Alessio Salucci, Director of the VR46 Riders Academy and Sky Racing Team VR46.
A key member of Rossi’s entourage, Salucci told SkySport.it the Italian great will decide his future by mid-season.
“It will depend a lot on the races, after six-seven GPs we will see if [Rossi] is having fun and how competitive he is, at which point we will make a choice,” he said.
Rossi has signed a one-year deal with the satellite Petronas Yamaha squad after being replaced at the factory team by Fabio Quartararo for the coming year.
Set to celebrate his 42nd birthday later this month, his premier class career began in 2000.
Aside from a stint at Ducati in 2011 and 2012, Rossi had ridden for the factory Yamaha team since 2004.
He’s won seven 500cc/MotoGP championships, alongside titles in 125cc (1997) and 250cc (1999).
Rossi has also played a role in the development of a number of other riders, including Francesco Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli, through his VR46 programme, and Team VR46 which currently competes in Moto2.
VR46 backed rider Luca Marini is set to step up to MotoGP this season with Esponsorama Racing, however, that operation looks set to lose its slot on the grid for 2022.
That has stirred suggestions Team VR46 could enter the premier class in its own right, offering Rossi an immediate off-track role.
“Our [VR46] guys have grown faster than expected, the time has come to think about making a team in MotoGP,” Salucci said.
“The road is long, the step to take is also important from an economic point of view, we are facing important months.
“We don’t know which bike to go to MotoGP with, for sure we all know that our heart is with Yamaha.”
MotoGP kicks off in Qatar on March 28, the first of two races at the Losail circuit to start the 2021 season.