It's time for Valentino Rossi to rest, but also think, as he passes his time away from racing in his home in Tavullia. Along with his teammate, Maverick Vinales, he was interviewed by Matthew Birt.
“I'm fine. It's a strange situation for everyone. I've never been home for so long," he joked. "I m in Tavullia with my fiancée and my mom. Everything is fine. You have more time for yourself and, in my case, for thinking about the future. But it's pretty boring."
And it was precisely the future that the Doctor talked about most. His contract will expire at the end of the year. Yamaha has promised him an official M1 if he wants to continue, but he'll have to do so on the Petronas team.
"'I'm in a difficult situation," he explained. "Like I already said, my first option is to continue, because I'm motivated and I want to. However, I would first like to understand my level of competitiveness, because I suffered a lot in the second part of the last season. I was slow too many times. I think it would take me five or six races to understand if I can be faster with my new team manager and also several changes in the team. The problem is that we're not racing, so I think I'll have to decide before we starting again. Even if I were to be optimistic, we would only be able to start in the second half of the year, hopefully in August, but I'll have to decide beforehand. I want to continue, but I'll have to decide without racing."
Leaving everything behind after an abnormal season like this wouldn't be the best.
"It's certainly not the best time to quit. We may not even race. It would be better to race another season and then retire. I want to race, " he said.
"Lorenzo could think about racing again... Yamaha would have to construct five bikes."
If so, he'll do so on the Petronas team, and there are those who say that Lorenzo has the same goal.
"I think that after his season with Honda, Lorenzo was in my same situation after two years in Ducati," the Doctor said. "I never had a good feeling on the bike. The results were bad, and every time I tried to push a little more, I fell, and I lost my confidence. I had said to myself: 'It's over, it's time to stay home. But as soon as he got back on the M1, Jorge discovered those good sensations, so I think he could think of going back to racing with Yamaha in the future, but I don't know what he wants."
Bringing back the old duo could however be a problem.
"I don't think Franco would be happy," Rossi stated. "Morbidelli was very fast in the winter tests, and I think he'll give it his best to stay on that team. Maybe Yamaha will have to construct five bikes," he said, laughing.
"I don't like racing two races on the track. Less GPs would be better, but organized in the best way possible."
The Doctor also gave his opinion on when the championship might start again.
"I think the best option would be to start in August or September and try to race ten or twelve races on the circuits where the best conditions can be found, even ending in December, " he said. "I hope there won't be lots of races on the same track, and I don't even like to racing twice on the same weekend, like in the SBK. Racing less GPs would be better, but done in the best way possible. Racing behind closed doors would be a pity, because we do it for the fans, but this would be better than nothing. I talked to Carmelo Ezpeleta. I tried not to disturb him too much, but I asked him for updates. He's under a lot of pressure. He's doing his best because he wants to race just like we do."
The problem will be having to quickly get back on track after all these months.
"We've never been away from our MotoGP bikes for so long, and it's not a good situation. I sometimes go down to the garage to get on the M1," Valentino said, jokingly. "During the first test of the year, I'm always afraid of not being as fast as in the previous year but, in the end, that's not what happens. When you get back on the bike, you feel good. It'll be physically difficult. I hope we can test a bit before racing, maybe a few days before the Grand Prix, to be ready."
"Doctors and nurses are our heroes"
Rossi didn't only talk about motorcycles but also about the Coronavirus pandemic, giving all his support to doctors and nurses.
"The situation is difficult for everyone, all over the world, but for those who work on the front lines to save lives, it's more difficult and more dangerous. They have all my support.You are our heroes, thank you and don't give up," he said.
"The Misano GP is a race to relive. I'm angry with Elias, but not for beating me in Estoril."
The Doctor also rummaged through his trunk of memories, revealing which race weekend he would like to experience again.
"I'd like to relive the Misano GP in 2009. I had been the fastest in all the practice sessions, including the warm up. I got a pole position and then won the race," he replied.
Then he replied to Toni Elias, who had stated that Valentino still hasn't forgiven him for beating him in Estoril in 2006.
"Sometimes I see Elias, and I have nothing against him," Rossi ensured everyone. "I'm not angry with him for beating me in Portugal in 2006. If anything, for having knocked me out at the first corner in Jerez. It was the first race, and perhaps it was that maneuver that made me lose the championship."