The nine-times World Champion will continue to race in 2021 with a satellite Yamaha team. It’s the ninth season in a row when Rossi will race aboard a Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. Also, it’s the second time in MotoGP when Rossi will race with a satellite team – the first time was back in 2000 and 2001 seasons when the Italian rider raced with the satellite Honda Nastro Azzurro Team in the 500cc class.
Razlan Razali, Petronas Yamaha SRT Principal: “On behalf of PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team and all its partners, it is an absolute honour to welcome Valentino Rossi – an iconic rider and legend into the team next year. His experience will be a great asset to the team as we move into our third season in MotoGP and we are sure we will be able to learn a lot from Valentino.
“At the same time, we will do our absolute best to assist him to be competitive to reward him for the trust he has in us as a team. We are humbled by this opportunity and ready to take on the challenge. We believe that the combination of Valentino and Franco will provide a truly formidable force on track to help us in our goal of being as competitive as possible together next year. We can’t wait!”
Johan Stigefelt – Petronas Yamaha SRT Director: “To be able to sign a rider like Valentino Rossi, for what will be only our third year in the MotoGP championship, is amazing. We have evolved from a Moto3 team to a Moto2 team to a MotoGP team in a short time frame and now to be leading the MotoGP teams’ championship and signing one of the greatest riders the sport has ever known is incredible.
“It has been a long time since Valentino was in a satellite team and we will try our best to help him feel like new again. We want to make sure that he feels comfortable in our team, which we trust in and believe in so much. Our target is to get even better as a team, help Rossi deliver the best results possible and make 2021 a memorable year.”
Valentino Rossi has raced in the premier class of MotoGP since 2000 and he is the only rider in history to win 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP World Championships. Moreover, only in the premier class, Rossi has a total of seven world titles, 89 race wins, 199 podiums, 55 pole positions and 76 fastest laps. And it might be possible for these figures to change next year even if the Rossi will be racing at 42 years of age under a Yamaha satellite team.
The Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team is quite a new team in MotoGP as the squad only has two seasons in the premier class so far. Even so, the team managed in their first MotoGP season to pick up six pole positions and seven podiums and win the Independent Teams’ Championship thanks to French rider Fabio Quartararo. Moreover, this season, the team already scored two pole positions, four podiums and three race wins, and the lead of the Teams’ Championship. It may be possible, by the end of the 2020 MotoGP season, the Petronas Yamaha SRT to gain the MotoGP Riders World Championship if everything plays out well for Fabio Quartararo who at the time of writing this story he is second in the World Standings just one point behind the leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team).
A couple of details remain to be solved regarding the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike Valentino Rossi will race next year. The Italian rider will most likely receive factory support by the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team which should mean that Rossi’s bike will have all the technical features the same with the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 of Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo which they’ll be racing with the full support of the factory Yamaha MotoGP Team.