Valentino Rossi's worst-ever start to a grand prix season has fuelled plenty of debate over the nine-time world champion's MotoGP future.

Currently on a one-year deal with Petronas Yamaha, Rossi has always maintained that results will determine whether he elects to extend his record-breaking career into 2022.

The Italian's results so far make grim reading, his only points coming from a twelfth-place finish in the Qatar season-opener. Since then, Rossi has been classified 16th, DNF, 17th.

While there have been plenty of critics, two high-profile former racers recently offered words of support to Rossi.

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1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz believes the 42-year-old still has fight in him, while Foggy felt Rossi would be at the front if MotoGP bikes were not so reliant on electronics.

"I don’t read anything, ever. But it's been like this for 15 years!" smiled Rossi, when asked if he sees all the speculation written about him.

"But sometimes I see things on Instagram. Somebody speaks well about me, somebody less! I saw good words from Kevin and from Fogarty. I have to say thank you to the ex-champions that speak well!

"What I like is that Kevin said he still trusts in me and that I still have some fight inside. I agree with him and will try to demonstrate."

After a 'low morale' Spanish Grand Prix, Rossi and his team had allowed themselves some 'small smiles' following progress in braking and corner entry at the post-race test.

The Doctor hoped to confirm the steps made at Le Mans this weekend, but the forecast wet weather is set to complicate things.

"Yes it's a shame because I like a lot Le Mans and historically it's also a good track for Yamaha so I hope for a dry weekend also to understand if the work from the Monday test at Jerez can help us to be stronger also here," he said.

"But the weather is like this and we will see. Will be important to try to be competitive in all the conditions because the weather changes every ten minutes."

Rossi was also asked for his response to the news that there will not be any fans at his upcoming home Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

"I think that Mugello is the place where having no fans is the bigger problem, because the track is a natural stadium," he said. "Maybe Jerez is like this, or Assen. But in Mugello you see the people when you ride, it's one of the only tracks."

Might the lack of home fans also influence his decision to race in 2022?

"It's a great shame to not have any fans also this year [at Mugello] but depends very much on the results if I continue in 2022," Rossi reiterated.

 

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