Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will leave the factory Yamaha squad at the end of 2020, as it has decided its long term future is Maverick Viñales and rising star Fabio Quartararo.
Rossi made a return to Yamaha in 2013 after spending seven years there earlier in his career, but he last won a MotoGP title in 2009 and has not taken victory since Assen in 2017.
His replacement Quartararo enjoyed a stellar first year in MotoGP at satellite squad SRT Yamaha as one of the few riders capable of battling Marc Marquez, and he subsequently earned interest from Ducati and Suzuki.
With Viñales also outperforming Rossi and recently signing a new contract through to 2022, it left no place for Rossi at the manufacturer. Yamaha has pledged a factory bike and support should Rossi continue, potentially at SRT. A decision on his future is slated for “mid-2020”.
Rossi had wanted to assess his competitiveness in 2020 before committing, but Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said the manufacturer had to consider MotoGP’s cyclical driver market.