(Reuters) – Italian MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi said he wants to continue racing next year, when he will be 42 years old, but most likely must commit before he can see how competitive he is this season.
FILE PHOTOS: MotoGP – Valencia Grand Prix – Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Cheste, Valencia, Spain – 17 November 2019 Yamaha Energy Monster Valentino Rossi in action during the REUTERS / Heino Kalis race / Photo file
A series of MotoGP races have been postponed until the end of June at the earliest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with greater possibility to follow due to a ban on large meetings and sporting events.
Rossi will leave the Yamaha first team at the end of 2020 but has a seat on the Yamaha Petronas satellite if he wants it in direct exchange with 21-year-old Frenchman Fabio Quartararo.
“I think I have to decide before the race because in the most optimistic situation we can race in the second half of the season, so around August or September we hope, if all is well,” Rossi said in a Yamaha question and answer on YouTube. .
“But I have to make a decision beforehand. I want to continue but I must make this decision without making a race.
“This is not the best way to stop because the situation is maybe we will not race in 2020 either. It’s more fair to make another championship and maybe stop at the next end. I hope to continue in 2021, “he added.
Rossi is a motorcycle phenomenon, a nine-time world champion in all categories with seven titles in the upper class.
He is the only racer to compete in more than 400 grand prix and also offers the longest winning career, spanning more than 20 years between wins, with 89 wins in the top category.
The Italian said in January he needed some answers from the opening race before launching another campaign in 2021.
Isolating at home in eastern Italy, he said the pandemic had put him in a difficult situation.
“As I said, my first choice is to try to continue because I have enough motivation and I want to continue.
“But it is very important to understand the level of competitiveness, especially in the second part of last year we suffered greatly, and too often I was too slow and I had to fight not for the first five positions.
“So in my mind I have one more year with the factory team and I need time to decide. I need five, six races to be understood with a new chief mechanic, and with some modifications in the team I can be stronger. ”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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