Yamaha has announced a factory deal with Fabio Quartararo for two MotoGP seasons from 2021 as decision on Valentino Rossi is set for mid-2020.
After confirming Maverick Vinales at Yamaha for 2021 and 2022 MotoGP seasons on Tuesday, the Japanese manufacturer has rewarded satellite rider Quartararo with a full factory ride for the same two years as a replacement for Rossi.
The 2019 MotoGP Rookie of the Year will step up from his Petronas Yamaha SRT ride in 2021 alongside Vinales, which seals off any movement within Yamaha. Interestingly, the manufacturer will keep their ties with Rossi and has promised full support.’
The Italian legend has asked for time until mid-2020 to decide his future and should he wishes to continue racing, Yamaha will provide full factory support – including bike – for 2021 and beyond. But if he decides to end his MotoGP career, it will be his choice.
“I’m delighted about what my management has achieved in the last few months together with YMC,” said Quartararo. “It was not simple to establish, but now I have a clear plan for the next three years and I’m really happy.
“I will work hard, like I did last year, and I’m extremely motivated to achieve great performances. I feel like the winter period is too long – I’m really excited to go to the Sepang test next week to ride my new YZR-M1 and meet and work with my crew again.
“I want to thank YMC and PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, who have given me the opportunity to enter the MotoGP class in 2019. I will give my all to do them proud again this year.” At the same time, Rossi, stated:
“For reasons dictated by the riders’ market, Yamaha asked me at the beginning of the year to make a decision regarding my future. Consistent with what I said during the last season, I confirmed that I didn’t want to rush any decision and needed more time.
“Yamaha has acted accordingly and concluded the ongoing negotiations. It is clear that after the last technical changes and with the arrival of my new crew chief, my first goal is to be competitive this year and to continue my career as a MotoGP rider also in 2021.
“Before doing so, I need to have some answers that only the track and the first few races can give me. I’m happy that, should I decide to continue, Yamaha is ready to support me in all respects, giving me a factory-spec bike and a factory contract.
“In the first tests I will do my best to do a good job together with my team and be ready for the start of the season.” And finally, Yamaha chief Lin Jarvis, added: “The totally understandable decision of Valentino to assess his competitiveness in 2020 before making any decision about 2021 was something that Yamaha respects and also wholeheartedly agrees to.
“While we have total respect for and confidence in Valentino’s abilities and speed for the 2020 championship – at the same time Yamaha also have to plan for the future. These days, with six motorcycle manufacturers in the MotoGP class, fast young talents are greatly in demand, and consequently the riders’ market begins ever earlier.
“So, it’s a weird sensation to start a season knowing that Vale will not be in the Factory Team in 2021, but Yamaha will still be there for Valentino, whatever he may decide for the future. If he feels confident and continues to race, we will provide a Factory-spec YZR-M1 bike and full engineering support.
“If he decides to retire, we will continue and expand our collaborations off track with the young riders’ training programmes of the Riders Academy and the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp, and with him as a Yamaha brand ambassador.
“Anyway, that is all speculation – right now we have a full season ahead of us and I can assure the fans that Valentino will have our 100% support every day until he eventually one day decides to hang up his leathers.