Petronas SRT Yamaha boss Razlan Razali says discussions over the prospect of running Valentino Rossi in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship are making progress, but he emphasises the Italian must still be prepared to deliver the results they expect if he does sign.

Rossi originally came into the 2020 MotoGP season intending to use the opening few rounds to determine whether he will hang up his helmet at the end of the year or continue into 2021. However, with the coronavirus pandemic scuppering those plans, Rossi has made it clearer in recent weeks that he will indeed race on next season.

Even so, Razali told motogp.com that while talks have taken place between himself, Yamaha and title sponsor Petronas, he is yet to start discussions with Rossi.

However, while Razali describes Rossi as a ‘living legend’, he maintains his status isn’t a reason for Petronas SRT to change ‘360-degrees just for one person’ and he wants the Italian to arrive in the team looking to meet its expectations of podium results.

Nevertheless, should Rossi prove competitive enough, Razali says Petronas SRT would be prepared to offer to discuss extending the contract beyond 2021 if he wants to.

“We had a good number of discussions with Yamaha to discuss the technical aspects of ‘what if’ Valentino comes to us - we’re talking the bikes, the costs. We also discussed with Petronas at a very high level of the possibility of Valentino joining us, but we are yet to have a meeting with Mr Rossi himself.

“Valentino is not any other rider, he is a living legend. He knows a lot. But at the same time for us, I’m sorry, no-one is above the team and for me the team is important.

“What we had last year was great in terms of the structure. We are in our second year and we don’t want to change 360-degrees for one person.

“We don’t want Valentino just to finish off his career here with us. We don’t want it to just be a finale for him, we want him to do well and perform and be competitive and fight for the podium.

“If he can show that at his age he can still be competitive, anything can happen in that year. Whether he wants to extend, we can discuss.

“[But] Until we sit down and ask him what he wants and he asks what is expected from the team, we are just talking until the cows come home.”

 

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