Valentino Rossi has shaken off the latest rumours of potential discord between himself and Yamaha over plans to join the Petronas SRT squad for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship, reiterating he is ‘99%’ certain to be racing there next year.

Though Rossi’s switch to the satellite team - currently leading the 2020 MotoGP standings with Fabio Quartararo - has been much mooted, the time elapsed has given rise to suspicions that negotiations aren’t going smoothly.

As such, rumours arose this week that suggested Petronas SRT Yamaha could instead swing its preference to Andrea Dovizioso for 2021, the Italian currently without a ride after his decision to quit Ducati.

 

 

However, after PSRT owner Razlan Razali denied this was an option, Rossi maintains the plan remains on course, adding a deal could be announced for the Catalunya MotoGP round in just over two weeks’ time.

“No it’s not true, the situation is like two or three weeks ago,” he responded when asked whether there are any doubts creeping in. “We take time with Yamaha because we are not in a hurry and we have something to fix, but we are very close to sign and I will race with Petronas next year, I want to say 99% because it is not signed, but I think maybe Barcelona we can give the announcement.”

Discussing the fevered speculation in recent days, Rossi laughed off the attention, putting it down to click-bait because when he does announce his retirement it will be ‘big news’.

“My retirement is big news, no? If on the internet you write that ‘Valentino retires’ a lot of people click to read, a lot of fans. I think it is for this reason, there isn’t another reason because the situation hasn’t changed and I tried to explain a lot of times that I will rac next year, but maybe it is more interesting to say I retire. 

“I don’t know if it is because they [media]  want me retire,” he joked.

Yamaha’s highest scoring rider last time out in Austria, Rossi comes to his home San Marino MotoGP round in Misano seventh overall, 25 points adrift of Quartararo.

While he stops short of saying he will be a potential title contender in what is proving to be a very open season, Rossi does expect it to go to the wire and involve more than two riders.

“Everything is very open, i am just 25 points behind Fabio but I am in P7. I have two or three riders in front of me in one point and two or three riders behind me in one point - so it is like we are six riders in a few points. With this number everything is possible.

“For sure, we will try our maximum but what is scarier is that we are not fast enough, especially in Austria. We hope that in other tracks we can be better, so we will understand from tomorrow if we are strong for the fight for victory and podium like last year. I think this championship will have a lot of surprises to the end and can remain open to the last race for a lot of riders.”

 

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