Valentino Rossi officially confirmed as a Petronas Yamaha rider for the 2021 MotoGP season.
The long-expected deal means that, although he has re-signed directly with Yamaha, the nine-time world champion switches to satellite status for the first time since his rookie 2000 premier-class campaign, with Honda.
Rossi will still receive factory machinery at Petronas, as he swaps places with double MotoGP race winner Fabio Quartararo.
“I am very happy to continue riding in 2021 and to do it with the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team,” Rossi said.
“I thought a lot before taking this decision, because the challenge is getting hotter and hotter. To be at the top in MotoGP you have to work a lot and hard, to train every day and lead an ’athlete’s life‘, but I still like it and I still want to ride.”
“In the first half of the year I made my choice and I talked with Yamaha, who agreed with me. They told me even if there was no place for me in the Factory Team, the factory bike and the factory support were guaranteed.
“I am very happy to move to Petronas Yamaha SRT. They are young, but they‘ve shown to be a top team. They are very serious and very well organised. “
“For this year I also changed my crew chief. I‘m very happy with David, and I think we haven‘t reached our best yet. This was one of the reasons why I chose to continue, because the atmosphere in the team is something I like a lot.”
“It ‘ll be nice to have Franco as my team-mate, as he‘s an Academy rider, it‘s going to be cool. I think we can work together to make good things happen.”
About 2021 contract…
“We talked abou both 1+1 and only one-year deal, then we decided to make an annual contract. There are chances that I will continue, but that will depend on my results in the first part of next seasons. If we go strong, if we can get podiums and be in top 5 in the championship, then i can continue.”
“So, if we are all happy then we can continue. To be honest, I was a little angry with Yamaha at first because it seemed they wanted to offer me only a one-year contract, so I explained to them that I am not sure to retire at the end of 2021, and they understood”