Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi has hinted that he wants to continue racing next year, during an interview with his Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales.
In the interview with commentator Matt Birt, Rossi spoke about his initial plan to use the start of the season to gauge whether or not he’d be up for racing in 2021 – but as a result of the coronavirus outbreak putting halt to MotoGP action, he’s not had the chance. That means he’s probably going to have to make the decision without getting any racing under his belt this year.
He said: “I am in a difficult situation because, like I said, my first option is to try to continue. I have enough motivation and I want to continue. It’s very important to understand the level of competition because especially in the second part of last year we suffered very much and too many times I was too slow and I had to fight outside of the top 5. In my mind, I had another year with the factory team and I needed time to decide and for me, I need like five or six races, with the new chief mechanic, and some modifications in the team to understand if I can be strong.
“The problem is that there’s no racing. So with the virus, we cannot race. So I will have to decide before racing because in the most optimistic situation we can race in the second half of the season, so August or September we hope. But I have to make my decision before. But anyway I want to continue but I’ve had to make this decision without any races.
“It’s not the best way to stop because the situation is that maybe we don’t race in 2020. So it’s fairer for me to do another championship and stop at the end of the next, so I hope to continue in 2021.”
Interestingly, there’s isn’t a factory Yamaha ride waiting for The Doctor in 2021 – with Fabio Quartararo already confirmed as Maverick Viñales. That means there’s a good chance we’ll see Rossi on the satellite Petronas Yamaha.