Valentino Rossi has confirmed his 20th MotoGP season with Petronas SRT Yamaha in 2021 alongside Franco Morbideli.
After losing his Yamaha MotoGP seat to Fabio Quartararo, Rossi had been speculated long to join Petronas SRT in 2021. In fact, the Italian had more or less confirmed it to be happening but the official stamp was left to be signed this weekend in Barcelona.
With that done, Rossi is officially confirmed to ride a Yamaha M1 in the Petronas SRT squad alongside his VR46 rider Morbidelli – as it becomes a direct replacement to Quartararo. It is a move to a satellite squad, something new for the Italian MotoGP rider.
In the lead up to the announcement, Rossi revealed that some of his Yamaha crew members will move with him but two key personnel Alex Briggs and Brent Stephens won’t join him at Petronas SRT – they are more likely to leave MotoGP as well.
Razlan Razali, Petronas Yamaha SRT Principal, said: “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.
“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!”
At the same time, Johan Stigefelt – Petronas Yamaha SRT Director, added: “To be able to sign a rider like Valentino Rossi, for what will be only our third year in the MotoGP championship, is amazing.
“We have evolved from a Moto3 team to a Moto2 team to a MotoGP team in a short time frame and now to be leading the MotoGP teams’ championship and signing one of the greatest riders the sport has ever known is incredible.
“It has been a long time since Valentino was in a satellite team and we will try our best to help him feel like new again. We want to make sure that he feels comfortable in our team, which we trust in and believe in so much. Our target is to get even better as a team, help Rossi deliver the best results possible and make 2021 a memorable year.”