MotoGP: Petronas Yamaha confirm the signing of Valentino Rossi for 2021
Valentino Rossi will remain in MotoGP next year after signing for the Petronas Yamaha team.
The announcement was made this morning in Barcelona ahead of the MotoGP qualifying session for the Catalan Grand Prix. Both parties involved in this new agreement have been working hard to finalise certain aspects of the deal in recent weeks, which has led to the delay in the move becoming official.
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The nine-time champion has signed a one-year deal, and a new offer will only be put on the table for 2022 if all parties are happy to continue working together. Rossi will line-up alongside VR46 Academy member Franco Morbidelli next season, who remains with the satellite team for a third year.
Despite losing his spot in the factory team to Fabio Quartararo, Rossi will still have a full factory M1 at his disposal next season. However, only three members of his current crew will be joining Rossi at the Petronas team. Crew chief David Munoz, data technician Matteo Flamigni and coach Idalio Gavira are due to make the switch. Long-serving members of Rossi's team, Alex Briggs and Brent Stephens, will not make the move.
"On behalf of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team and all its partners, it is an absolute honour to welcome Valentino Rossi – an iconic rider and legend into the team next year," team principal Razlan Razali said. "His experience will be a great asset to the team as we move into our third season in MotoGP and we are sure we will be able to learn a lot from Valentino.
"At the same time, we will do our absolute best to assist him to be competitive to reward him for the trust he has in us as a team. We are humbled by this opportunity and ready to take on the challenge. We believe that the combination of Valentino and Franco will provide a truly formidable force on track to help us in our goal of being as competitive as possible together next year. We can’t wait!"
By the time we go racing in 2021 Rossi will be 42-years-old. The 2021 season will be Rossi's 16th as a Yamaha rider, with 65 of his 89 premier class victories coming with the brand. The Italian currently sits on 199 premier class podiums. The Catalan GP is Rossi's 350th, meaning he has taken part in 39% of the 902 premier class races held since 1949.
Rossi is the only rider in history to win 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP World Championships.