It has been a long, long time since Valentino Rossi found himself outside of a factory team in grand prix racing, but the 2021 season sees The Doctor in the Petronas Sepang Racing Team, alongside Franco Morbidelli.
Rossi’s long racing career has bore championship fruit nine times, and while no one expects the Italian to add to that tally in the coming season, the 42-year-old can certainly surprise on race day, and certainly has some race wins still in his future.
Working with the “satellite” Petronas team is a downgrade for Rossi on paper, but considering the turmoil within the factory-backed Monster Yamaha MotoGP, the move down the pit lane could be a strong move for Rossi and his crew.
Valentino Rossi will always be a fan-favorite in the MotoGP paddock, but removing the duties that come with a factory ride (albeit, Rossi will still have more media and fan duties than most satellite riders) should come with less pressure and a more relaxed atmosphere, which could help bear some results as well.
Any way you cut it, the 2021 MotoGP Championship will be a landmark year for Rossi’s storied career.
“I’m very proud to be part of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team,” said Valentino Rossi in the team’s press release. “It’s a new challenge for me. This is a very young team, but in the last two years they have already been really competitive.”
“I’m happy to see my new bike for this year and I really like the colours of the livery, leathers, helmet, etc. It looks awesome. My targets for 2021 is to be competitive, fight to win races, fight to achieve podiums and also fight for a good position in the World Championship standings at the end of the season.”
“We are all very focused on our targets to make the best we can. I think that with Franco we are a very interesting couple of riders as we know each other really well. All the whole team has a lot of motivation and I will give my maximum to achieve together the best possible result at the end of the calendar. We are ready to start.”
Source: Petronas Sepang Racing Team