According to what GPOne.com has learnt (and as we reported), the negotiations between the Petronas team and Valentino Rossi are at a very advanced stage. Razlan Razali, the team principal of the Malaysian team, has been speaking about the subject on motogp.com.
The team boss admitted that he hadn’t yet talked to the Doctor, but that he had already discussed with the bosses of Yamaha and Petronas about the arrival of VR46 to the team.
“Next year we will be coming back from a very bad year and for Valentino, a nine-time world champion, it would not be nice for him to retire in this kind of scenario, we can provide the best opportunity for him to continue,” he said. “We have had a number of discussions with Yamaha, we need to discuss the technical aspects of what it means if Valentino comes to us and we have also discussed with Petronas at a very high level about Valentino joining us.”
The top brass has given its OK for the operation and therefore, as we had anticipated, it is only a question of sorting out the details. The most important concerns the team of technicians that Rossi would like to bring with him. It doesn’t seem to be a big problem, because Quartararo (in one of our interviews) also said he wanted to do the same in his transition to the official Yamaha team.
Razali, however, was quick to point out one important factor: “Valentino is not like any other rider; he’s a living legend. At the same time however, no one is above the team. We are in our second year and we don’t want to change our team 360° for one person.”
This is the crucial point for reaching an agreement, but it does not seem impossible to resolve. The team principal also confirmed our other two rumours, the first of which was about an option for 2022.
“We don’t want Valentino just to finish off his career with us as a final year for him. We want him to do well, be competitive and fight for the podium. If he can show at his age, he can still be competitive anything can happen in that year and anything, even if he wants to continue for another year, can be discussed,” he confirmed.
The second indiscretion was that of having Franco Morbidelli alongside.
“For us next year the priority rider is Franco Morbidelli. If Valentino comes, it’s a discussion that needs to be held but Franco is our key rider for ‘20 and ’21,” Razali clarified.
There is no place on the other hand for Jorge Lorenzo…
“I did have a talk with Jorge during the tests, he looks enthusiastic and rejuvenated,” he revealed. “He did ask me, but I was non-committed at the time because it was too early in the season. If it was a normal championship, if he does well and did his wild-card, everything is open for possibilities. Everyone wants to ride a Yamaha, so we are spoilt for choice. It’s not a normal year right now so it’s difficult for us to consider Lorenzo.”
At this point we will have to wait, but how long? In Petronas they are taking their time about things…
“I believe that August is the absolute deadline for us to announce the second rider,” Razali confirmed.