Valentino Rossi has already resumed training at the Ranch, along with his brother Luca Marini and with Franco Morbidelli, who also resides in Tavullia and is also able to get back on the dirt track. But there's a day planned on the Misano track for May 14th with the other riders from the Riders Academy as well. The Doctor, however, has not only gotten back on his bike, but he's also continued negotiations with the Petronas team, and they're at a very advanced stage.
After Yamaha's decision to focus on Quartararo for the premier team, alongside Vinales, the promise of an official bike for Valentino arrived from Iwata, if he chose to continue racing. Logically, it was supposed to have been the Petronas satellite team.
A few weeks ago, Rossi had explained that he also plans to race in 2021 and has started negotiations with the Malaysian team. We could say that it was almost a pro forma, because they were definitely ready. Valentino is convinced and the deal is done, all that's missing is a signature and a few details.
The most important is related to the team of technicians that the Doctor would bring with him. Valentino was one of the first riders to always want the same team with him, first when he went from Honda to Yamaha and the same with Ducati. He clearly would like to do the same again next year, when he'll be on the Petronas M1. It's not a big obstacle to overcome, because Quartararo could do the same by moving with his men to the official team.
As for the terms of agreement, it would be an annual contract with an option for 2022, if Valentino were to postpone his retirement again.
The Petronas team needs to close quickly because this strange season involves closing advertising deals early. And, in Rossi's case, we're talking about someone capable of shifting many balances.
His teammate will be Franco Morbidelli, who the upper echelons at Yamaha like very much and who's perfect for the Petronas team, which was created with the objective of developing young riders and preparing them for the official team.
Valentino is not a young man, but he's a hen with a golden egg for Petronas, which could use his image during a time that is complicated for everyone, even for one of the most (economically) solid teams in the paddock that, due to the current crisis, was forced to cut their members' wages by 50%.
The details will be sorted out in the next few weeks, then they'll decide when to announce it. Rossi had said that he would decide his future before the start of the championship. Without a doubt, he's a man of his word.