Yamaha Racing

Valentino Rossi Q&A: On Returning To A Satellite Team, His Racing Future, And Being Competitive At 42

2021 is going to be a decisive season for Valentino Rossi. Then again, we have been saying that for some time, as the 42-year-old Italian MotoGP legend continues his career well beyond what even the most experienced MotoGP hands ever expected. Will he carry on racing? Has he still got what it takes to chase podiums and win races? Is a seventh MotoGP title and tenth Grand Prix title still a realistic possibility?

Those are big questions after Rossi's worst ever season in Grand Prix racing. The Italian scored his lowest points total with 66 points from 12 races, his lowest points average at 5.5 points a race, and his worst finishing position in the championship with a 15th position. He scored a single podium, matching his previous worst season tally in Grand Prix in 2011, when he also ended with just one podium during his disastrous first year at Ducati.

For 2021, Rossi moves to the Petronas Yamaha SRT team. The Italian must put his faith in the benefits of the best-run satellite team in MotoGP, and in Yamaha's engineers having learned the costly lessons of last year, and finding a solution to the M1's turning woes.

The Petronas Yamaha SRT team held a zoom media debrief with Rossi ahead of the first test of 2021, the first opportunity the media have had to talk to the Italian since he joined the Malaysian squad for this season. Rossi talked about moving to a satellite team, his hopes and expectations for 2021, how he will make a decision on his future, and his friendship with new teammate Franco Morbidelli.

Q: You are back in a satellite team after a long time as a factory rider. Are you hoping to thrive in a more relaxed environment?

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Yamaha MotoGP Team Launched At Jerez: Photos And Video

On the eve of the final MotoGP test at Jerez, Yamaha used the opportunity to officially present their MotoGP team and livery for the 2012 season. The bikes are similar to last years, but with more white, giving a cleaner look, but once again, Yamaha have no title sponsor. Asked at the presentation whether that would be a problem, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told the media that Yamaha was not in racing to make money, but to promote the Yamaha brand, something which is more difficult with a title sponsor.

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Yamaha To Run Special Red-And-White Anniversary Livery At Assen And Laguna Seca

One of the advantages of not having a title sponsor is the freedom to use special liveries on your motorcycle as and when you see fit. Throughout the preseason, while Yamaha haggled over potential title sponsorship deals with companies such as Telefonica, Petronas and AirAsia, in the back of their minds, the Japanese factory knew that if they failed to secure a title sponsor, they would be able instead to use the season - and Jorge Lorenzo's #1 plate - to promote their own brand in their 50th anniversary year in world championship motorcycle racing.

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