While there’s still time to challenge for podiums and even wins, Petronas Yamaha haven’t hit the heights of last season which saw Franco Morbidelli finish as MotoGP vice-champion. 

The Italian has been hugely affected by being on a two-year old M1 spec machine, while a leg injury suffered at Le Mans - surgery took place before Assen, means he’s unlikely to be racing before Misano according to Razlan Razali. 

On the other side of the garage, Valentino Rossi is in the midst of his most difficult season in MotoGP. 

The nine-time world champion has just one top ten finish through the first nine races which came at Mugello - 10th place. 

When discussing the team’s season to date, Razali said: “This season has been hard for us in MotoGP, especially coming into it off the back of the strong results from our first two years in the category, including Franco Mobidelli being Vice Champion in 2020. 

“The 2021 season hasn’t been completely what we expected it to be. Franco experienced bike issues in the first round but he came back strong and claimed the first podium of the year for the team in Jerez. 

“Unfortunately he was then struggling with his knee problem as it became aggravated and ultimately led to him needing surgery. 

“It does impede our aspirations for the rest of the season but we hope that he will come back strong again. 

“We saw some good qualifying pace from Valentino Rossi in the season opener and some improvements in recent races, but we know it has been difficult. We will keep supporting him all we can for the second half of the year.”

One of the biggest storylines to follow coming out of the summer break will be the inevitable decision from Rossi on whether he continues or not next year. 

But that’s not the only rider decision that could affect Petronas Yamaha for 2022, as Morbidelli could also be on his way out due to the Monster Energy Yamaha factory seat opening. 

With that said, Razali said no decisions have been made, while nothing will be announced until after Austria: "It’s important to remember that we’re still waiting to hear Valentino and Yamaha’s decision about next year. Anyway, and as is normal in this period of the year, the latest news regarding the MotoGP riders’ market has certainly opened up all possibilities! 

"It’s an on-going discussion between Yamaha, ourselves and our current MotoGP riders, and we’re not in a rush to announce anything.

"We have been receiving interest from a lot of riders and even riders that are currently outside the MotoGP championship who want to join our team. 

"We believe that we have time and are in a position where we have the luxury to choose; everybody knows of the package that Yamaha can offer and what a young rider can potentially do as part of our team. We have the structure and the package to offer young riders the opportunity to achieve their dreams. 

"We have seen it with both Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, so with all this interest we will take our time to evaluate every rider who we would like. There won’t be any potential line-up announcement until after the next couple of races."