Dovi or Rossi for Petronas SRT seat in 2021?
By Mitchell Boyes & Rob Portman
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of speculation about the fact that MotoGP stalwart Valentino Rossi will be retiring, and the newly freed Andrea Dovizioso would be taking the Petronas Yamaha spot that had been so closely tied to Rossi for 2021. No one knows whether or not Rossi will retire at the end of the year but the GOAT, as he’s affectionately referred to, has made it clear for months that he has every intention on staying in the MotoGP paddock. It has been months of back and forth between Rossi and Petronas with the Italian saying recently that he is 99% of the way there.
He once again put to bed any rumors of retirement at the press conference at Misano today, saying “I will race next year, 99% with Petronas, but maybe in Catalunya we will have more news”. So yes, Rossi will probably, eventually sign with SRT, but why the wait? He says “there is no hurry”, but what is the hold up? Money? Team members roles? Who knows, all we know is the Dovi rumor has popped up and doesn’t seem to be going away and why should it, he is still fast and now available, so why wouldn’t SRT consider him. That’s the purpose of this post, to lay it out, from our minds, and to stir the pot a little more…
Let’s look at it from a different angle quickly. Rossi had the near-death experience in Austria with his head almost being taken off by Morbidelli’s Petronas Yamaha. Did that rock the Doctor more than he is showing? Does he look at the bigger picture now and think the time has come to hang up the flamboyant, iconic Dainese suit? “It will never happen” is something that just can’t be said after everything in 2020 so far.
As for Dovi, yes he is leaving Ducati and has said it’s purely a clash between himself and the team, but let’s not forget he is currently 2nd in the championship (as we type this) and has constantly proven to be the next best in the class over the past few years and with Marc not there could potentially be the 2020 MotoGP World Champion, so why not look at him if you are the Petronas SRT team? Dovi, after all, has won this season, and Rossi has not, and hasn’t for a while now…
It’s a tough one for the team, as, on one hand, they have The GOAT and marketing dream Rossi available, and on the other potential MotoGP champ and the number one plate on their bike in 2021. It’s a tough call.
Petronas Yamaha boss Razlan Razali came out on social media to say that the Petronas Yamaha team is “not considering Dovi at all for 2021” which basically squashes the whole rumour. For all we know, this has been a PR stunt to make all the VR46 fans sweat a little before the announcement that Rossi will indeed join the Petronas Yamaha team at this weekends Misano Grand Prix. The one that was promised months ago…
On the flip side though, it makes sense that Dovi is linked to what is a pretty desirable seat. Dovi has been the runner up in the championship for the last 3 years in a row, technically making him the 2nd best rider in the paddock since 2017. It’s strange to think that someone who has had so much success and is still in the fight for wins, might retire. That being said, Casey Stoner did the same thing. Perhaps Dovi has decided to hang up his suit and spend time with the family. Maybe MotoGP will be rocked by the retirement of one of its most legendary characters. I for one would be sad to see either of them go, with Rossi often still being the top Yamaha and Dovi still fighting for wins.
Another scenario is that there be a 3 man team, but we are not sure that can happen, or if the team can afford that. If Yamaha want to make this happen, keeping Rossi somehow and making room for Dovi, then maybe Dovi does sign for Petronas SRT and Rossi has his own one man VR46 team within the same team? That would be great, and a way to have the best of both worlds.
We really don’t know what will happen, maybe Dovi goes to Aprilia or maybe he will go to WSBK? Can’t see that happening to be honest, but it is 2020, the year of “what the hell”.
As silly seasons intensifies, the rumour mill will just continue to churn out rumour after rumour just like every other year so far. Hopefully this weekend at the World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Rossi will make an announcement regarding his future and things will become a bit clearer.