Valentino Rossi MotoGP return in doubt: Garrett Gerloff chosen as Yamaha stand-in


Valentino Rossi may not return to the MotoGP paddock this weekend as expected after testing positive for Covid-19 again

Garrett Gerloff

WorldSBK rider Garrett Gerloff could stand-in for Valentino Rossi

2020 Yamaha Motor Racing Srl

WorldSBK rider Garret Gerloff has been selected as the stand-in rider for Valentino Rossi for this weekend’s European Grand Prix should the Italian be unable to race at Valencia.

Rossi’s latest Covid-19 test took place on Tuesday and returned a positive result, which would rule him out of a third race this season.

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK rider Gerloff is now on standby should Rossi not provide two negative tests ahead of the Valencia weekend, in line with MotoGP coronavirus protocols.

In both races at Aragon, Yamaha fielded just a single rider in Maverick Viñales. Should Gerloff be required though, the no46 team will run with the American in Valencia.

Rossi was the first MotoGP rider to test positive for coronavirus all season. Ahead of the first Aragon race last month, he insisted he had followed the correct protocols after the Le Mans race. After initially posting a negative result a second test proved positive, sidelining him for two rounds.

Gerloff finished this season’s WSBK season 11th in the riders’ standings in his maiden campaign, scoring three podium finishes along the way.

“Following the two Grand Prix weekends in Aragon in October, where Maverick Viñales performed as the sole Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider, the team is pleased to announce it has added GRT Yamaha WorldSBK rider Garrett Gerloff to its potential rider line-up for the Gran Premio de Europa,” a team statement read.

“Should Rossi be unable to meet the requirement of two negative PCR test results needed to be allowed to take part in this weekend’s GP event, the American will substitute for Rossi.

“Nevertheless, today the Italian will undergo a new test. Should he test negative, he will still have enough time to complete the required second PCR test and fly to Valencia.

“Should Rossi be deemed ‘unfit’ to ride in Valencia, Gerloff will be backed by the number-46 rider’s usual crew for his very first riding experience aboard a YZR-M1.”

Rossi is already out of contention for the 2020 MotoGP world title after a series of crashes ahead of his positive test cost the seven-time champion dearly. Team-mate Viñales is still in with a mathematical chance, but faces an uphill battle to overhaul Suzuki’s Joan Mir in the standings and overcome the current 19-point deficit.