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Graziano Rossi: Morbidelli rivalry will drive Valentino on

The father of the nine-time World Champion feels that his teammate may just prove the spark to seeing the Rossi of old on track in 2021

The return of the MotoGP™ World Championship is imminent following four long months of winter. In the wake of the Official Qatar Test, expectations are beginning to form about how the first two rounds of the 2021 season will play out at Losail International Circuit.

The Ducatis, Hondas and Yamahas all look strong and like early contenders to challenge Suzuki for the crown, despite each having seen new riders debut in the factory colours. Fabio Quartararo made the move to Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia both jumped up to the factory Ducati Team while Pol Espargaro dons another shade of orange as he traded KTM’s RC-16 for Repsol Honda Team’s RC213v.

Rossi upbeat after recording personal best lap at Losail

However, perhaps the move which has captured the imagination the most is that of Valentino Rossi, who switches to Petronas Yamaha SRT to partner Franco Morbidelli at the satellite team. Plenty of intrigue continues to surround The Doctor as he enters his 26th season of Grand Prix racing, and his father and former motorcycle racer Graziano Rossi, who recently turned 67, shared his thoughts on the season ahead.

"We need to be optimistic, the situation is beautiful for several reasons. Morbidelli is close, the right bike, a nice team of quick and alert people, as Franco's 2020 season has shown,” the elder Rossi said in an interview with  

Indeed, he even feels that VR46 academy graduate Morbidelli could just be what his son to kick-on and reach the levels of his hay day, feeling that the three-time 2020 race winner is again the biggest threat of the Yamahas.

“Vale will need the competition, he will want to be as fast as the other: it is a good motivation and it is also a motivation that I would call happy. The two understand and respect each other.”

“I saw Morbidelli on Sky the other night: he spoke very highly of Vale and it is clear that he is convinced that he is in front of him. But from this comparison, Valentino could come up with something good. At Yamaha, I see Morbidelli stronger than Quartararo and Maverick Viñales, who have a few moments of little light.”

With the younger Rossi looking to have found some comfort with his new YZR-M1 at the Test, we wait with bated breath to see if he can translate that to Sunday form at the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar on March 28th.

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