Petronas Yamaha may have already lost star rider Fabio Quartararo to the factory Yamaha team from 2021, but the satellite squad has quickly been linked to high profile options Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo which team principal Razlan Razali sees as “tricky but interesting at the same time”.

Rossi has signalled his intention to move to Petronas Yamaha if he decides to continue racing into 2021, having already been guaranteed a factory specification M1, after stepping aside to allow Quartararo to be promoted to the works squad from next season.

“For me Petronas is the best option. The situation is very good. They have a good, young team so they can improve. They have money. They are serious,” Rossi said at the Sepang test.

Added to that is the speculation growing around Jorge Lorenzo who could consider coming out of retirement if he can find the speed, confidence and motivation as Yamaha’s MotoGP test rider this year.

While both options are far from certainties at this stage, Razali says they will both remain in the back of his mind when the team comes to plan its 2021 rider line-up.

“Tricky but interesting at the same time,” Razali said when quizzed about signing Rossi or Lorenzo. “A wheel is yet to turn for 2020 so we are not there yet. We have the tests and a few races until either one of them actually comes up.

“We are not there yet so we are not going to think about it at the moment. But it is an interesting proposition and when the time comes, we will sit down and talk.”

Franco Morbidelli will also be added to the equation as he looks to retain his spot on the MotoGP grid with Petronas Yamaha, while the team will be a very attractive option for up-and-coming riders given the M1 package is considered the easiest to adapt to in the premier class.

“Of course we have a number of young riders in our view for 2021 and riders who perform well this year will definitely be considered in 2021,” he said.

The Petronas Yamaha chief also sees Quartararo’s rapid rise as a strong compliment to his team’s efforts in MotoGP having only made its top-class debut last year. Quartararo made a strong start to 2020 by topping the Sepang pre-season test.

But rather than resting on its success, Razali says the satellite Yamaha squad remains fully fixated on achieving its 2020 targets.

“We are very proud that he [Quartararo] has secured his career with Yamaha for an additional two years,” he explained. “I think it is only natural for a rider from the satellite team to go to the factory team, that is a natural progression and we are very happy for him.

“At the same time, to focus on 2020 we expect him to continue with his good work from last year and to better this year. It is a defining year for him with higher expectations on him this year so we hope that we will continue with his good work from 2019 into 2020.”

Given Rossi’s intention to make a call on his MotoGP future after gauging his competitiveness with the 2020 Yamaha M1 from the opening races, Petronas Yamaha won’t be expected to finalise its 2021 rider line-up until the summer.

 

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