MotoGP: Valentino Rossi to return at Valencia after two negative Covid-19 tests
Valentino Rossi will return to action tomorrow at Valencia after his second Covid-19 test came back negative.
The Italian flew to Valencia yesterday evening after his first test came back negative, with Italian law stating that he could end his self-isolation period. Rossi remained self-isolated in Valencia overnight before having another test this morning.
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Having two consecutive negative test results means that Rossi is now able to take part in this weekend's European Grand Prix and he'll be back on his Monster Energy Yamaha M1 in tomorrow morning's FP3 session.
Yamaha World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff replaced Rossi for FP1 and FP2 and showcased some impressive speed and ability on his first-ever outings on a GP machine. He finished the wet FP1 session in 16th (1.5s off the leading lap-time), before ending the day 19th overall. Gerloff was the first American to ride in the premier class since the late Nicky Hayden in 2016.
After testing positive for Covid-19 last month Rossi missed both races at Aragon. He'd also suffered three consecutive DNFs in the race prior to his positive coronavirus test. This means that the nine-time world champion finds himself 15th in the overall standings.
Valencia is not one of Rossi's favourite circuits and he has struggled there for the last two years. The Yamaha rider hasn't been on the podium at Valencia since he finished second in 2014 and ended last year's race in eighth.
MotoGP: Valentino Rossi ruled out of Aragon Grand Prix following positive Covid-19 test
First published: 15 October 2020 by Josh Close
The nine-time world champion felt sore and under the weather this morning and called for a doctor. Rossi had two tests - a quick Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test (which came back negative), followed by a standard PCR test which came back positive at around 4pm local time.
"Unfortunately, this morning I woke up and I was not feeling good," Rossi said in his social media post. "My bones were sore, and I had a slight fever, so I immediately called the doctor who tested me twice. The ‘quick PCR test’ result was negative, just like the test I underwent on Tuesday. But the second one, of which the result was sent to me at 16:00 this afternoon, was unfortunately positive.
"I am so disappointed that I will have to miss the race at Aragon. I'd like to be optimistic and confident, but I expect the second round in Aragon to be a ‘no go’ for me as well... I am sad and angry because I did my best to respect the protocol and although the test I had on Tuesday was negative, I self-isolated since my arrival from Le Mans.
"Anyway, this is the way it is, and I can't do anything to change the situation. I will now follow the medical advice, and I just hope I will be feeling well soon."
The Italian had travelled back home to Tavullia, Italy, after the French GP at Le Mans last weekend. As per the rules, Rossi underwent a PCR test on Tuesday and this came back negative. Rossi was feeling fully fit and he trained at home without any symptoms or inconveniences on Wednesday.
According to a statement released by Yamaha this evening, Rossi has not been in contact with anybody that is currently present at Aragon since he left Le Mans. This includes VR46 Academy riders, VR46 staff and members of the Monster Energy Yamaha team.
"This is very bad news for Valentino and very bad news for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team and for all MotoGP fans around the world," Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis added. "First and foremost, we hope Valentino will not suffer too much in the coming days and will recover fully in the shortest time possible.
"It comes as a second blow for our MotoGP operations having faced the absence of Project Leader Sumi-san and five YMC engineers at the Le Mans race after one member tested positive – despite being fortunately totally asymptomatic. These two incidents remind us that no matter how careful you are, the risk is always present - as we see with the rising numbers of infections in Europe at this time.
"We have checked with the Italian health authorities and we have been advised that any member of our team that was in contact with Valentino up until Monday is excluded from direct risk. Nevertheless, we will be even more attentive from now on to minimise the chance of any future issue."
Rossi is the first MotoGP rider to test positive, however several members of the paddock have previously tested positive despite tight restrictions being in place. Moto2's Jorge Martin missed the double-header at Misano last month after testing positive.
Rossi will continue to self-isolate back home in Italy and it's unlikely that he'll be able to compete in the Teruel GP (also at Aragon) next weekend. If that's the case, test rider Jorge Lorenzo could make a sensational return to action. The Spaniard was due to make a wildcard appearance at the Catalan GP before the coronavirus pandemic played havoc with the original calendar. Yamaha have made no comment on a potential replacement rider at this early stage.