Rossi reveals his target for putting off retirement
Tuesday 23rd March, 2021 - 10:18am
Valentino Rossi has revealed what result in the 2021 MotoGP season would see him put off retirement for another year.
The seven-time premier class world champion has moved away from the factory Yamaha team to SRT for the upcoming campaign, although he remains directly contracted to Yamaha.
Rossi is secure for one more year although, according to SRT team principal Razlan Razali, his deal includes a performance clause which would need to be met to make a renewal a possibility.
While not necessarily speaking to any such clause, the 42-year-old Italian has now nominated what hurdle he has set himself in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“Officially, I have a one-year contract, but my goal is to race for two more,” said Rossi.
“It’ll depend on how things go in 2021. If I have fun, I fight to win [or] for the podium.
“If I remain in the top five, then I’ll continue.
“Otherwise, working so hard wouldn’t be worth it.”
Rossi’s move to SRT was effectively a direct swap with Fabio Quartararo, who was pounced upon by Yamaha before the last season had even started after its veteran superstar hesitated in re-signing.
At that time, ‘The Doctor’ said he “need[ed] to have some answers” on the race track following a 2019 campaign that yielded only two podiums, both in the first three races of the year.
Speaking at SRT’s season launch earlier this month, Rossi advised that he will make a decision during the summer break, and that results “will be the key” to it.
Another several-times world champion, on the other hand, will not be on the grid at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix, namely Marc Marquez.
The Honda rider has been ruled out of both the season-opener and the Doha Grand Prix at the same Losail circuit on the following weekend as he continues his recovery from a broken humerus.
Marquez missed all but one race of 2020, the exception being that which he crashed out of in sickening fashion, at Jerez.
Rossi asserted that “his [Marquez’s] return doesn’t change anything,” but also suggested that his rivals are no longer intimidated by #93 after virtually a full season without him.
“He’ll be stronger than before,” added Rossi.
“But, in his absence, the other guys have grown a lot. And they’re no longer afraid of him.”
Round 1 of the 2021 season, Rossi’s 26th in grand prix racing, starts on late Friday night (AEDT).