Petronas Yamaha boss Razlan Razali has revealed that talks have already been held about signing Valentino Rossi for the 2021 MotoGP season.
Seven-time MotoGP world champion Rossi is out of contract at the end of this year and has lost his place at the factory Yamaha squad to Fabio Quartararo for 2021.
Yamaha had asked Rossi to decide his future at the start of the year, but his insistence on waiting to evaluate his performance in the opening races of the now-delayed 2020 season forced the Japanese marque’s hand to make a move for the sought-after Quartararo.
Rossi has been guaranteed full works support from Yamaha should he choose to stay for 2021 with Petronas SRT, which he indicated last month is now likely owing to the current situation surrounding the coronavirus-delayed 2020 season.
In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Razali confirmed talks have been had with Yamaha about a 2021 Rossi deal, though the finer details now need to be worked out.
“We met with Yamaha and we already know their proposal,” Razali said. “But now we have to sit down with all the parts and begin to deal with the details. That has not been done yet.
“So far we have been analysing technical issues. We must not forget that Valentino should be matched with our sponsors. We have to balance the disbursement of hiring him for a single year and see what we can get in return, be it performance on track or results.
“It is clear that it would benefit us in terms of exposure, and that having Valentino is a great value. At the moment, everything looks good, but we have to start analysing the details.”
Razali said that one of the main points that has to be ironed out is who Rossi is able to bring with him from the works Yamaha squad, while not ‘dismantling’ the current technical structure at Petronas SRT.
“Normally, when a rider arrives at a factory he takes with him the pieces of equipment with which he is most comfortable,” Razali added. “We are in favour of that, because we also do not want to deny his chief mechanics and technicians that he chooses the possibility of signing for a factory and of being in a position to fight for the title.
“We made it clear to Yamaha that at Petronas we have our technical teams and we prefer not to dismantle that structure. Surely only two or three of Rossi’s technicians would join him, but we still have to talk to him.”
Of Rossi’s core crew, new crew chief David Munoz and long-time mechanic Alex Briggs are the most likely to step over to SRT with him.
Rossi will likely be paired with protege Franco Morbidelli at Petronas next year, after Razali confirmed the team is looking to re-sign the 2017 Moto2 world champion.