Petronas SRT boss Razlan Razali has confirmed to Autosport that talks have been held with Yamaha about signing Valentino Rossi for the 2021 MotoGP season.
Seven-time MotoGP world champion Rossi is out of contract at the end of this year and has lost his place at the factory Yamaha squad to Fabio Quartararo for 2021.
Yamaha had asked Rossi to decide his future at the start of the year, but his insistence on waiting to evaluate his performance in the opening races of the now-delayed 2020 season forced the Japanese marque’s hand to make a move for the sought-after Quartararo.
Rossi has been guaranteed full works support from Yamaha should he choose to stay for 2021 with SRT, which he indicated last month is now likely owing to the current situation surrounding the 2020 season.
In an exclusive interview with Autosport, Razali confirmed talks have been had with Yamaha about a 2021 Rossi deal, though the finer details now need to be worked out.
“We met with Yamaha and we already know their proposal,” Razali said.
“But now we have to sit down with all the parts and begin to deal with the details.
“That has not been done yet. So far we have been analysing technical issues.
“We must not forget that Valentino should be matched with our sponsors.
“We have to balance the disbursement of hiring him for a single year and see what we can get in return, be it performance on track or results.
“It is clear that it would benefit us in terms of exposure, and that having Valentino is a great value.
“At the moment, everything looks good, but we have to start analysing the details.”
Razali (above) says one of the main points that has to be ironed out is who Rossi is able to bring with him from the works Yamaha squad, while not ‘dismantling’ the current technical structure at SRT.
“Normally, when a rider arrives at a factory he takes with him the pieces of equipment with which he is most comfortable,” Razali added.
“We are in favour of that, because we also do not want to deny his chief mechanics and technicians that he chooses the possibility of signing for a factory and of being in a position to fight for the title.
“We made it clear to Yamaha that at Petronas we have our technical teams and we prefer not to dismantle that structure.
“Surely only two or three of Rossi’s technicians would join him, but we still have to talk to him.”
Of Rossi’s core crew, new crew chief David Munoz and long-time mechanic Alex Briggs are the most likely to step over to SRT with him.
Rossi will likely be paired with protege Franco Morbidelli (below) at SRT next year, after Razali confirmed to Autosport that it was looking to re-sign the 2017 Moto2 world champion.
This has effectively ended hopes of Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo forming an SRT dream team next year, as had been rumoured over the winter.
Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 11:00:58 +0000
Reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez says Honda lost its way during pre-season testing because it was “convinced” the real issue was his injured shoulder.
Marquez had to undergo surgery on a partially dislocated right shoulder he suffered in a heavy crash during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, and which he aggravated further in a small off during November’s Jerez test.
He entered pre-season testing at “60-70%” fitness and struggled in Malaysia and Qatar with the 2020-spec RC213V.
Both Marquez and LCR’s Cal Crutchlow complained that the new bike was even harder to turn than its difficult predecessor, and it wasn’t until the final day of testing in Qatar that the problem was found to be the updated aerodynamic package.
But, speaking to Sky Sports, Marquez says the biggest issue was Honda linking his negative feedback of the bike to his shoulder not being 100% fit.
“The condition of my shoulder is improving, in the operation and during rehabilitation I had an injury – the muscle around the shoulder was [damaged],” said Marquez, who penned a new four-year deal with Honda in the off-season.
“But in the last days before the coronavirus emergency I had already started doing motocross again and I felt better.
“We initially lost our way in Malaysia.
“We lost it because we were all convinced that the problem was my shoulder.
“Every comment I made, such as feeling [of] the bike [being] heavy when cornering, was influenced by the shoulder.
“Afterwards we went to Qatar, my conditions were better, but the problems were always the same.
“We tried pieces of the 2019 bike, we analysed the situation, to solve the problems and on the last day we found the right way.”
Many believed with Marquez still recovering from injury and on the back foot with the bike, he would have struggled in the season-opener before it was cancelled.
But Honda team boss Alberto Puig dismissed this, claiming Marquez would have “fought like hell” to have been at the front of the pack.
The 2020 season is on delay until at least the end of July after the first 11 races were cancelled or postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it resumes, it is likely it will be a European-centred campaign consisting of around 10-12 races from August through to November.
Commenting on the possibility of a short season, Marquez said: “It would be difficult to have a short season, because we would have to take risks, not being able to skip races [through injury].
“There would be no time to recover points.
“But, honestly, I don’t think about that right now; when we have a calendar I will sort my strategy.”
Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 08:51:29 +0000