MONTMELO, Spain – Valentino Rossi will remain in MotoGP for at least one more year after signing an agreement to continue as a Yamaha rider with the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team.
Rossi, who has spent most of his career racing for Yamaha in MotoGP, announced in January he would be leaving the factory Yamaha program at the end of the season. However, the 41-year-old hadn’t yet decided if he was going to retire or continue racing.
That decision has now been made.
“I am very happy to continue riding in 2021 and to do it with the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team,” said Rossi. “I thought a lot before taking this decision, because the challenge is getting hotter and hotter. To be at the top in MotoGP you have to work a lot and hard, to train every day and lead an athlete’s life, but I still like it and I still want to ride.
“In the first half of the year I made my choice and I talked with Yamaha, who agreed with me. They told me even if there was no place for me in the factory team, the factory bike and the factory support were guaranteed.”
Rossi will join Franco Morbidelli at the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team. Fabio Quartararo, who is in contention for the MotoGP crown this year, was previously announced as Rossi’s replacement at the factory Yamaha MotoGP team.
“I am very happy to move to Petronas Yamaha SRT. They are young, but they‘ve shown to be a top team. They are very serious and very well organised. For this year I also changed my crew chief. I’m very happy with David, and I think we haven‘t reached our best yet. This was one of the reasons why I chose to continue, because the atmosphere in the team is something I like a lot.
“It’ll be nice to have Franco as my teammate, as he’s an academy rider, it‘s going to be cool. I think we can work together to make good things happen.”
Rossi has competed in 15 MotoGP seasons with the factory Yamaha team, earning four MotoGP titles, 142 podiums and 56 victories.