Valentino Rossi has admitted he would like to continue competing in MotoGP for 2021 and beyond following the news of his replacement at Yamaha by Fabio Quartararo, with Yamaha pledging its full support.
Yamaha announced on Wednesday that the Frenchman would join Maverick Vinales at the squad for at least the next two seasons, leaving Rossi out in the cold.
Rossi, who will have completed 15 full-time seasons with the Japanese factory at the end of 2020, may remain in the championship and if he does so, the manufacturer has offered a factory-spec bike and full support.
“For reasons dictated by the riders’ market, Yamaha asked me at the beginning of the year to make a decision regarding my future,” said Rossi in a statement shortly following the announcement of Quartararo’s appointment.
“Consistent with what I said during the last season, I confirmed that I didn’t want to rush any decision and needed more time.
“Yamaha has acted accordingly and concluded the ongoing negotiations. It is clear that after the last technical changes and with the arrival of my new crew chief, my first goal is to be competitive this year and to continue my career as a MotoGP rider also in 2021.
“Before doing so, I need to have some answers that only the track and the first few races can give me. I’m happy that, should I decide to continue, Yamaha is ready to support me in all respects, giving me a factory-spec bike and a factory contract.
“In the first tests I will do my best to do a good job together with my team and be ready for the start of the season.”
Rossi commented earlier this month that he would be open to a potential transfer to the Petronas SRT Yamaha satellite outfit should his time at the factory team come to an end, a move now made likely with his intention to continue with a factory agreement.
The veteran Italian has won four MotoGP titles on Yamaha machinery, with his last coming back in 2009.
He re-joined the team following a short and unsuccessful stint at Ducati across the 2011 and ’12 seasons, fighting for the title with then team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in ’15 although ultimately losing out to the Mallorcan.
Rossi failed to stand on the podium more than twice during his ’19 campaign though, and has failed to win a MotoGP race since the ’17 Dutch TT.