Confirmed: Valentino Rossi will race for Yamaha satellite MotoGP team in 2021

MotoGP

Valentino Rossi will compete in his 22nd premier-class season in 2021, with the announcement of a contract with the Petronas Yamaha SRT team

Valentino Rossi on the podium after the 2020 MotoGP Andalucia Grand Prix

Studio Milagro / DPPI

Valentino Rossi will be back on the MotoGP grid next year with Yamaha’s Petronas SRT satellite team.

The deal for 2021 was announced this weekend and will see the nine-time champion ride alongside Franco Morbidelli in his 22nd premier-class season.

Rossi has been promised a factory-spec bike and engineering support as he moves from Yamaha’s factory team.

“It is an absolute honour to welcome Valentino Rossi – an iconic rider and legend into the team next year,” said Razlan Razali, principal of Petronas Yamaha SRT. “His experience will be a great asset to the team as we move into our third season in MotoGP and we are sure we will be able to learn a lot from Valentino.

“At the same time, we will do our absolute best to assist him to be competitive to reward him for the trust he has in us as a team.

“We are humbled by this opportunity and ready to take on the challenge. We believe that the combination of Valentino and Franco will provide a truly formidable force on track to help us in our goal of being as competitive as possible together next year. We can’t wait!”

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Rossi announced in January that he would be leaving the factory Yamaha team, which he has been part of for 15 seasons of his career.

At the time, Rossi said that he wasn’t ready to commit to racing in 2021. Yamaha said that the fast-moving driver market forced them to confirm Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales in their top-tier line-up for next year.

Over the summer, rumours emerged that Rossi had made his decision and would continue to race with the satellite team next year.

“To be able to sign a rider like Valentino Rossi, for what will be only our third year in the MotoGP championship, is amazing,” said Johan Stigefelt, Petronas Yamaha SRT Director. “To be leading the MotoGP teams’ championship and signing one of the greatest riders the sport has ever known is incredible.

“It has been a long time since Valentino was in a satellite team and we will try our best to help him feel like new again. We want to make sure that he feels comfortable in our team, which we trust in and believe in so much. Our target is to get even better as a team, help Rossi deliver the best results possible and make 2021 a memorable year.”