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Team Manager of the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP squad Massimo Meregalli believes that Valentino Rossi will race in 2021 if he has to base his decision solely on his passion for the sport. The Italian has been speaking with Italian MotoGP™ broadcater Sky Sports Italia and touched on a wide range of topics.
What’s it like being in lockdown?
"It seems to me that it’s like qualifying when it’s interrupted by a red flag. We’re waiting for it to restart but it is constantly postponed".
It’s a shame because Yamaha looked to be in great shape…
"It is a shame from the sporting aspect because we were very competitive, we had excellent results in the winter tests. Rossi, apart from excessive consumption of the rear tyre in Qatar, was also quick. Let's say that this stop has put us at a disadvantage, and we could have benefitted from someone else's problems.”
When do you expect to be back in a paddock?
"Nobody knows when we will start and, therefore, we are trying to simulate a hypothetical start of the championship, in July or August, just to make ourselves ready. We are also taking into consideration the possibility that this year we don’t race at all."
Does this look increasingly likely for you?
"We are taking it into consideration. We would like to race, of course. Personally, I would like to start tomorrow but I am also afraid. The situation must be safe first because it is not simple. When we restart everything, it must be well thought out. Health and safety come first."
If they decided to freeze the development of the bikes into the next season, would you agree?
"In my opinion, it is a fair decision. Given the situation, it seems to me to be an excellent solution."
In Valentino's opinion, is this one more reason to think about continuing, considering that we might not have a full season, or do you think it’s more likely he’ll retire?
"Difficult to say, I think, and I hope, that we start racing as soon as possible so that he has time to decide. If he has to decide based on what his passion is, I feel like saying that he will definitely race again next year. It is a decision that’s down to him, but it will certainly not be easy."
Razlan Razali, head of the Petronas Yamaha SRT team, said that if we don't race this year the teams will remain the same for 2021 (Viñales and Rossi with factory Yamaha, Quartararo and Morbidelli in Petronas Yamaha). Is this possible?
"No. I read it too and I don't want to say that it is a meaningless idea but if the 2020 season ends now, then 2021 will start as it is written that it should start."
With signed contracts?
Is there a time limit within which Rossi's situation must be sorted?
"It's a matter for Petronas, but we are ready for any decision that Vale makes."
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