Speaking to both motogp.com pitlane reporter Simon Crafar and Sky Sport Italia MotoGP during MotoGP™ FP1 at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Manager Massimo Meregalli has admitted that there are currently no plans to replace Valentino Rossi for the MotorLand Aragon double headers.
The nine-time World Champion returned a positive COVID-19 test ahead of the Aragon GP and is at home in Italy self-isolating. Meregalli admitted that he and Yamaha don’t currently plan on getting a replacement in for either Aragon race, with the team expecting Rossi to be back at the opening Valencia race.
“Yeah first of all yesterday we received a bad surprise. He’s caught it and now we’re wishing him to get back as soon as possible, he’s feeling a few of the symptoms and we expect him to be back in Valencia, we don’t expect him to be back for Aragon 2. We haven’t talked yet to replace him here but I don’t think we will,” said Meregalli to Crafar.
Understandably, rumours have started circulating and questions are being asked about the potential for Yamaha test rider and five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo to stand-in for his former Yamaha teammate. The Spaniard was riding the 2019 YZR-M1 at the Portimao Test, the first time he's been on a premier class machine since February's Sepang Test, but speaking to our Italian colleagues at Sky Sport MotoGP it sounds like this isn’t an option for Meregalli and Yamaha.
“In the test at Portimao, Lorenzo has shown that he needs to spend more time on track. He spent so much time off it, he lost his pace and his braking. If Vale cannot be fit for Valencia 1, we have time to find out another solution.”