Rossi: "In my heart, I didn’t trust doubts" over MotoGP future

Valentino Rossi admits his age prompted him to question his MotoGP future during a tough 2019 season, but says “in my heart, I didn’t trust” those doubts ahead of signing a new deal for 2021.

Rossi: "In my heart, I didn’t trust doubts" over MotoGP future

The nine-time grand prix world champion’s deal to remain with Yamaha and join Petronas SRT next season was officially confirmed on Saturday after months of discussions.

Next year will mark Rossi’s 26th in the grand prix racing and he’ll also turn 42, making him the oldest rider on the grid by seven years depending on whether Cal Crutchlow or Andrea Dovizioso continue. Last year, Rossi scored just two podiums and finished as third-best Yamaha in seventh in the championship – his lowest ranking in the points since his first year at Ducati in 2011.

Regularly “in trouble” on the M1, Rossi says doubts crept in over his age as the podium became frequently visited by riders aged between 20 and 25 – but this prompted him into changing crew chief to David Munoz as he believed he could still be competitive.

“I did a good first part of the season, I did some good races,” Rossi said of his 2019 campaign. “But a lot of occasions I was in trouble, I don’t feel good with the bike and I was not competitive enough to stay at the top level. And when you have these problems at my age, you start to ask yourself some questions.

“When you look at the birth date of the other riders, you understand that you are the oldest by seven years to the second [oldest], you say ‘maybe it’s time to stay at home’ But in my heart, I didn’t trust [this], I think I can be competitive.

“For sure, it’s not the same as 10, 15 years ago when I can win 10 races in a season. But I think if you are good with your body, the motivation can make the difference. So last year I decided to change something in my team, especially my chief mechanic because I think that we can be strong, we can be competitive, we can fight for the victory and the podium.”

Read Also:

Rossi’s deal with SRT covers just 2021 and doesn’t contain an option for 2022 as the Italian had originally hoped for.

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis caused some confusion when he said this was a result of Yamaha having not agreed a new deal with series promoters Dorna Sports covering the period of 2022-2026 – even though Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo are contracted to Yamaha through 2022.  Jarvis later clarified this, stating that Rossi not signing a 1+1 deal was a “technicality” of the fact Yamaha doesn’t have a deal in place with SRT beyond 2021.

“When I said about contracts, I mentioned two contracts,” said Jarvis. “I mentioned our contract with Dorna, but also mentioned our contract with the Sepang team. So, we can’t guarantee a place for Valentino if we don’t have a satellite team.

“In order to have a satellite team, first we need to sign a Dorna agreement so confirm ourselves as a participant of the championship and I said I had no doubt we would do that. From our top management, we can confirm our factory riders, but it’s very difficult to confirm a third rider because you can’t place a third rider in the factory team.

“Unless you have a confirmed satellite team, you can’t put it in a contract. So, there’s nothing negative, it’s a technicality.”

shares
comments

Related video

Catalan GP down to “who cares less to crash” – Espargaro
Previous article

Catalan GP down to “who cares less to crash” – Espargaro

Next article

Barcelona MotoGP: Quartararo wins as Rossi, Dovizioso crash

Barcelona MotoGP: Quartararo wins as Rossi, Dovizioso crash
Load comments
Why a difficult 2021 hasn't broken Pol Espargaro's resolve Prime

Why a difficult 2021 hasn't broken Pol Espargaro's resolve

Pol Espargaro’s switch to Honda for 2021 was one of MotoGP’s biggest rider market shocks. But a difficult bike coupled with various external factors led to a difficult first campaign. As a critical 2022 campaign for both Espargaro and Honda looms, his 2021 experience hasn’t dented his long-held resolve

Why KTM's latest young outcast is a cautionary tale for MotoGP Prime

Why KTM's latest young outcast is a cautionary tale for MotoGP

Iker Lecuona’s absence from the 2022 MotoGP grid after losing his KTM ride will likely pass most onlookers by. But after just 30 race starts in a MotoGP move he was sucked into by circumstance, the World Superbike-bound 21-year-old's story should act as a warning to KTM - and MotoGP as a whole - in regards to its future stars

MotoGP
Jan 4, 2022
How Ducati's expanded roster will threaten MotoGP's balance in 2022 Prime

How Ducati's expanded roster will threaten MotoGP's balance in 2022

That Ducati will compete with eight prototypes in MotoGP this year is nothing new, having already done so between 2016 and 2018. But the involvement and coverage of the Borgo Panigale company in its alliances is now much greater than in past years, which could have the effect of unbalancing the premier class

MotoGP
Jan 3, 2022
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2021

Although Fabio Quartararo wrapped up the 2021 MotoGP title with two rounds to go, the Yamaha rider had strong competition from the revitalised Ducati factory team and a revitalised Marc Marquez. Read on to see who makes our top 10 list.

MotoGP
Dec 23, 2021
How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king Prime

How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king

Doubts were cast over Yamaha’s French recruit after his disastrous end to the 2020 MotoGP season with Petronas SRT, but Fabio Quartararo answered them convincingly in 2021 to claim a MotoGP title that exhibited both his devastating speed and mental strength

MotoGP
Dec 7, 2021
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Prime

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Prime

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Motorsport.com's pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021