Valentino Rossi has added weight to the rumours that more rider changes are to come following Maverick Vinales' mid-season exit from the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team.

But they won't involve the nine-time world champion, who will finish his legendary career at the satellite Petronas team.

"No, I think I will remain here in Petronas until the end of the season," the Italian said at Silverstone on Thursday.

Instead, its team-mate Franco Morbidelli who is hotly tipped to switch to the Factory Yamaha squad once he is fit to return from knee surgery.

Rossi had hoped Yamaha and former team-mate Vinales would be able to iron-out their differences following the Spaniard's shock suspension for deliberately over-revving the bike.

Instead, Vinales' contract was immediatelt terminated by mutual agreement and he will make his debut for Aprilia in a private test next week.

"I thought that they can fix the situation but sincerely I don’t know a lot more," Rossi said of the Vinales-Yamaha split. "Maybe they had some other problems.

"Anyway, Maverick I think that will ride the Aprilia as soon as possible. This is very interesting because it looks like the Aprilia is competitive and Maverick is a very fast guy."

Yamaha has responded to the Vinales exit by moving test rider Cal Crutchlow, who had been replacing Morbidelli at Petronas, to the official team for Silverstone.

But the Englishman's original three-race plan concludes this weekend and it is rumoured that Yamaha will try to promote Morbidelli, who is already set to take over the Vinales seat alongside title leader Fabio Quartararo in 2022, during the upcoming rounds.

"For sure this [Vinales] movement creates some other movements, that we will see in the next races," said Rossi. "So this will be interesting for the second part of the season.

"Now we need to understand who will go into the Factory team, maybe Franco, maybe I don’t know. And who comes to be my team-mate also."

Triple title runner-up Andrea Dovizioso is tipped as a potential Morbidelli replacement for the remainder of this season, ahead of what could be a full time return with the 'reborn' SRT entry in 2022.

2022 is also due to see Rossi's VR46 team debut in MotoGP, with Ducati machines and title sponsorship from Aramco.

But doubts continue over the Saudi sponsorship and Rossi could offer little reassurance other than that the team will be on the grid one way or another.

"I'm not the guy to speak about the last details because I've been quite busy from other points of view!" smiled Rossi, who has announced his MotoGP retirement and that his will become a father for the first time in the space of a few weeks.

"Anyway, what I know is that the project of the MotoGP team for next year continues, but I don’t know very well the last details. You need to speak with [VR46]. But I think we will fix in some way and I think anyway we will do the team next year."

Turning to this weekend and Rossi's final MotoGP appearance in the UK, the Italian added:

"It's a pleasure to be here in Silverstone, especially because I like a lot this track. It's one of my favourites. Very fast and very long with a lot of corners. It's very technical and to ride a MotoGP bike here is great fun because the track is MotoGP size!

"In the last years I was always quite competitive here in Silverstone. Last time I was very strong all weekend. I started on the front row and fought for the podium, but unfortunately in the race I arrived just fourth.

"But anyway we will try to restart from that race, in two years a lot of things have changed so we need to understand our level but we will try to give the maximum."

While Rossi briefly found himself in a podium place during the late race chaos caused by rain showers in Austria, the last time he battled for a rostrum with pure dry pace was just before he contracted Covid last October.

With F1 champion Lewis Hamilton revealing he is still suffering from the effects of his own Covid diagnosis, in December, Rossi was asked if he had experinced similar issues.

"I think a lot about this because it's true that from when I came back from Covid my results are worse than before, because before Covid I did some mistakes, some crashes, but I was faster," he said.

"But I think, no. I think I don’t have any problem. I mean, I felt quite bad for two days and a bit tired for one week but after I felt normal.

"We always train and we try to understand with the results from the training if the Covid remains a problem but I think no.

"Sincerely I feel at 100%. I don’t feel any problem."

Rossi's eighth place finish in Austria was his best so far in Petronas colours.