There's not much that Valentino Rossi hasn't experienced during his 24-years and nine world titles as a grand prix rider.

But the 2020 MotoGP season is guaranteed to be a unique experience for even Rossi, with the coronavirus forcing the calendar to be slashed from 20 to an expected 10-12 rounds, including consecutive events at the same track and races held without any fans.

"For sure without racing life changes a lot. It's a very unusual feeling because from '96 this is my life and I miss MotoGP," Rossi told the official MotoGP website.

"This season will be particular, because first of all, it's more-or-less half the number of races. But the biggest difference for me will be to have two races in a row at the same circuit. This will be strange.

"We will also have a lot of limitations, no people in the paddock and especially no fans around the track. It will be like racing when the circuit is closed. For sure it will not be the same, but racing is very important to everybody, the riders, all the paddock, all the teams. So it will be crucial [to restart]."

A proposal, currently awaiting approval by the Spanish government, has been made to start the season with two races at Jerez on July 19 and 24.

By then, Rossi will probably have already made a decision on his racing future, with the Doctor widely expected to make a switch to Petronas Yamaha next season after losing his factory seat to young gun Fabio Quartararo.

The 41-year-old had hoped to test his speed in races before deciding on 2021, but the coronavirus means he will have to base his decision on winter testing.

In terms of single lap time, Rossi was ranked fifth (+0.192s) and twelfth (0.474s) respectively at Sepang and Losail, while working with new crew chief David Munoz and the latest YZR-M1.

"In the second half of last year, my results were not what we expected. We needed to be stronger and faster, and it looks like we lost a bit our competitiveness and the feeling it the bike in general," Rossi said.

"But I think with some new people in the garage, with the new chief mechanic etc, we need to find the way to come back and try to be competitive. This is the target.

"The winter tests were not so bad. I was quite happy. It looks like from the end of last season in Yamaha changed a lot of things on the technical side. The new bike is better, it's a bit faster and has more power. So it looks like Yamaha now worked hard and I think if Yamaha work at 100%, they can make a bike to win.

"I think that Yamaha have great riders, because apart from me they have three young riders that at this moment are very strong. Quartararo did an impressive rookie season, but also Maverick is in great shape and Franco is very fast. It's always interesting and challenging for me to fight with them, on the same bike.

"My target is to be more competitive than last year and fight for the podium."

Rossi took two rostrums from the opening three races of last season, but was absent from the podium thereafter and eventually finished seventh in the world championship.



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