The unprecedented delay to the MotoGP World Championship also means the sport's biggest ever star, Valentino Rossi, faces a more complicated decision on his racing future.

The nine-time world champion aimed to spend most of the opening half of this season analysing his competitiveness at a range of circuits before either opting to retire or switching to a satellite Yamaha in 2021.

Instead, the coronavirus means Rossi and his MotoGP rivals haven't completed a single race this year and are still months away, at best, from being back on the grid.

"I hope that we start racing as soon as possible, so that he has time to decide," Rossi's Monster Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli told SkySport.it.

"If he has to decide based on what his passion is, I feel like saying that he will definitely try again next year. It is a decision that belongs to him, but will certainly not be easy."

Whatever happens, Rossi has been forced to leave the factory team due to the signing of Fabio Quartararo for 2021. However, Yamaha also guaranteed its most successful rider will be given full backing at a satellite team if he choses to continue.

"Not being able to wait for Vale, but wanting to keep him we found the solution, to give him time to decide and making a factory package available to him, in the Petronas team."

However, to date, Petronas don't seem to have been part of any Rossi discussions and team boss Razlan Razali recently suggested they could keep Quartararo for a further season should the 2020 season be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Meregalli disagreed: "I read that too, I don't want to say it is a meaningless idea but if the 2020 season [is cancelled], 2021 will start as the [signed contracts] say it should start."

In other words, Quartararo alongside Maverick Vinales at the Monster Yamaha squad.

Yamaha had been looking in great shape for the start of the new season, its riders leading five out of the six days of pre-season testing.

"We're sorry from the sporting side, because we were very competitive and had excellent results in the winter tests. Rossi, apart from an excessive consumption of the rear tyre in Qatar, was also fast. Let's say that this stop put us at a disadvantage."

In terms of when the MotoGP action might finally start, Meregalli said they are currently preparing for both "a hypothetical start of the championship, in July or August" and "also taking into consideration the possibility that we can't race this year."

He added: "We would like to start, personally I would like to start tomorrow, but I am also afraid. The situation must be well defined, safe, because it is not simple. When starting everything, it must be well thought out, health and safety comes first."

Meregalli also joined a growing number of voices within the paddock who believe a target figure of 10 races this season is realistic, while backing the upcoming freeze on engine and aerodynamic development until the end of 2021 revealed by Crash.net yesterday:

"In my opinion it is a fair decision if it will be carried out, given the situation it seems to me an excellent solution."

 

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