Rossi: I hope Maverick and Yamaha can fix the situation

Valentino Rossi reacts to the news that Maverick Vinales has been suspended by Yamaha from this weekend's Austrian MotoGP, speaks of his own 'desperate' moments.
Maverick Vinales Valentino Rossi Qatar MotoGP, 27 March 2021
Maverick Vinales Valentino Rossi Qatar MotoGP, 27 March 2021
© Gold and Goose Photography

Valentino Rossi is hoping to see Maverick Vinales back at the factory Yamaha team from the British MotoGP, after the Spaniard's shock suspension.

Vinales has been sensationally 'withdrawn' from this weekend's second Red Bull Ring round due to 'unexplained irregular operation of the motorcycle' during last Sunday's race.

Yamaha justified the drastic decision on the grounds that the unspecified actions could have 'potentially caused significant damage to the engine' and 'caused serious risks to the rider himself and possibly posed a danger to all other riders'.

It is rumoured that, frustrated at technical issues, Vinales may been deliberately over-revving his engine in the closing laps of the race. The Spaniard is yet to comment.

"I'm very sad for this situation, from both sides," said Rossi, team-mate to Vinales at the Factory Yamaha squad from 2017 to 2020. "Because Maverick is my friend, is a good guy, and also Yamaha is always my team from a long time. So I think it's a shame for everything.

"It's a shame for the championship, it's a shame not to have Maverick on the track with the Yamaha and I think they can fix the situation in some way because anyway Maverick is fast, the bike this year is fast, so I hope they can speak and fix the situation and to see Maverick on track from the next race."

Rossi: I wanted to stop 3-4 times

While it was a Yamaha decision to suspend Vinales, Rossi could relate to the 'desperate' feeling a rider can go through during the difficult moments in their career.

The nine-time world champion admitted he had wanted to 'stay at home' during his own darkest hours, but credited family and friends for not letting him give up.

"I've passed through very difficult periods sometimes during my long career. I remember 3-4 times that I was really, really desperate because I don’t have the right result. I have a lot of pressure but I'm not able to gain, to have the result that I and everybody expect and I remember that I want always stop. I want stay at home," said the Petronas Yamaha rider.

"So I start and I push very much with my guys, with my entourage and my family and I say 'no, no, no, I don’t come. Next race I don’t come. I want to stay at home'. It's good, I'm lucky because all my guys from Uccio [Alessio Salucci] to Albi [Alberto Tebadi], Carlo [Carlo Casabianca] and also my mother said, 'No, you cannot stop. Now you don’t understand from inside what will happen if you stop. If you stop the situation will be a lot, lot worse than now'.

"And I said, 'it's impossible that it's worse'. And they said, 'no, you don’t have to stop because it's a lot worse'. And I have to say thank you because sincerely they are right. After some years I understand that if in that moment I stop, the situation is a lot worse than trying to continue. So I think that it's important the people you have around.

"But I don’t know exactly what's happened with Maverick and Yamaha, and it's a shame because he's a good rider on a good bike and he can make a very good result like you saw in Assen when he finished second."

Turning to his own hopes for this weekend, Rossi is looking to build on a 13th place finish last Sunday.

"Austria is not a perfect track for us, but we need to work hard to improve, especially the target is to try to improve the speed and performance compared to the first race," he said.

"We checked the data and we have something different to try. We need to start better and to improve the grip on the bike, so we need to work and we need to stay focussed and concentrate to arrive at the end of the race, take some points and try for the top ten. This is the target for this weekend."

Last Sunday had been the first race since Rossi announced he will retire at the end of this season.

"I was very curious about what would happen in my mind, but completely no difference!" he said. "Sincerely I remembered that I will stop at the end of the season 20-minutes after the race finished!

"But when I am on the bike I try to stay concentrated 100%. I don’t feel any difference because anyway I enjoy, I like and I want to try to be strong. So I don’t feel different."

With Franco Morbidelli still recovering from knee surgery, Cal Crutchlow will remain alongside Rossi for a second race.

The Englishman would also be the obvious choice if Yamaha and Vinales, already due to separate at the end of this season, decide they cannot continue for the remaining rounds.

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