This will not be the final year in MotoGP for Valentino Rossi, and perhaps not even the penultimate one. The Doctor has not yet put his signature to the contract with Petronas in black and white, but the decision has already been made and only superstition does not allow the Doctor to confirm it outright.
"It has been written that I signed, but it is not true - underlined the Doctor from Jerez, where he finished the test day in 5th place - But we are very close to doing it, I want to continue racing and I have already talked to Yamaha and Petronas. There are only a few details to sort out, I’m talking about my technical team, but I can say that 99% will continue to race with them ".
Will it be a one-year deal?
“I’ve been thinking about this, I didn't want to go to Petronas knowing that it would definitely be my last season, so I talked about it with Jarvis and Yamaha. The contract will be for 2021 but with an option for 2022. Next year, during the summer break, we will decide together whether I will continue or not. "
But first, you need to finalize the agreement…
“We are talking about my team, because Quartararo will also change teams and therefore there are a lot of pawns to move around, it is like a game of chess. For this reason, it will still take some time to sort everything out. Going to the factory team, Fabio will be the first to choose, I don't have much decision-making power. For sure David (Munoz, his new crew chief) will come with me, for the others it still has to be decided. There will certainly be changes; if they are big, they will be for me and for Quartararo, the same if they are small ”.
It is the first time you say you have no decision-making power in Yamaha ...
“I have no major problems from this point of view, this stop has made me understand many things. I liked being at home, I knew that continuing would have meant a big effort on my part, but this period made me take this decision lightly ".
Can you live without bikes?
"No way! As you may have seen on social media, I have been going a lot on bikes in the last few weeks. What worried me was staying at home, without doing anything, without having the pressure of the races. At the beginning it was boring, but then every day that passed I felt better. In the end I like to stay in bed and not do a damn thing! (laughs) It was interesting to think about my future and understand things. "
What was it like going back to the paddock?
“I don't think I've ever been in my entire life for so long without races, returning to the M1 was a fantastic feeling. Of course, things are a little different, you have to put on your masks, be careful, but there is also a lot of tranquillity. I was able to walk in the paddock without problems, that hasn't happened since 1997 (laughs) ”.
How did it go on the motorbike?
“Not bad in the morning, I used the soft tyre to make the time and I am 5th in the combined classification. In the afternoon I tried several tyres, but in the heat, I made more effort. I'm not happy with the balance of my M1, there is work to be done ".
Will such a different championship benefit you?
“I hope so, but I also think it won't change much. There are many races close together, but they are fewer in number. Usually in July we are already halfway through the championship, but now we are fresh and it will not be a problem to face many GPs in a row. But I'm curious about the double race on the same circuit, it will be interesting to see what will happen in the second race ".