Valentino Rossi continues to play his cards close to his chest as far as his 2021 MotoGP plans.

Providing an update via a video interview with MotoGP.com, the nine-time world champion reiterated that the coronavirus delay means he will need to decide his racing future without turning a wheel in anger this year.

The Doctor also confirmed another widely known fact, that he has only two options to choose from; "Petronas or stop".

Most believe the 41-year-old won't want to bow out with just the short season now planned for 2020 and Rossi will thus swap places with Fabio Quartararo by switching to Yamaha's satellite Petronas team next year.

Rossi's presence on next year's grid would also help pull the sport through the current crisis. But if the 115-time grand prix winner has already decided to continue, he's giving little away.

"My plan was very clear; change something in the team and wait until the summer to understand if I can be more competitive than last year," Rossi began. "Because this for me is crucial. So I want to continue, but only if I'm strong.

"Unfortunately, with this [coronavirus] situation I have to decide without races, so it's a bit more difficult. I just have to think more and try to understand more inside of me if I have enough strength, enough motivation.

"I have a good opportunity with the Petronas team, that I think is a top-level team as they demonstrated last year with Quartararo and Franco. It's a young team with younger guys around, but also a lot of people I already know and a great sponsor in Petronas.

"So I think it's a very good option. Now I just have to decide inside of me if I have enough motivation to continue."

But Rossi, without a podium finish since COTA last April and winless since Assen 2017, also confirmed that - as reported - he is yet to start direct discussions with Petronas team principal Razlan Razali.

"At this moment we speak just with Lin and Yamaha, but we still haven't spoken directly with Razlan," said Rossi.

Razali recently labelled Rossi "a living legend" but also made clear he doesn't want the #46 to join Petronas just for a farewell tour.

"We don’t want Valentino just to finish off his career with us," Razali explained. "We don’t want it to just be a finale for him, we want him to do well and perform and be competitive and fight for the podium."

Rossi agrees: "I like a lot his words, because for me it's exactly the same. I don’t want to go to Petronas just to make my last season, or just to say 'ciao'.

"So if I race, I will give 100% and I will race if I understand inside myself that I can be competitive and fight for the podium.

"This is for sure and I fully agree with Razlan."

Contract length/future options and the Italian's 2021 team members are likely to be the biggest issues for Rossi and Razali to discuss, once their talks begin, with the Malaysian warning:

"No-one is above the team and for me the team is important. What we had last year was great in terms of the structure. We are in our second year and we don’t want to change 360-degrees for one person."

Nonetheless, if Rossi wants to race on next year an agreement will doubtless be found, with VR46 Academy member Franco Morbidelli tipped to remain on the other Petronas machine.

Since Rossi is planning to decide his future before the delayed opening MotoGP race, he has until mid-July at the latest.

 

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