Valentino Rossi has reaffirmed his commitment to riding in MotoGP next year despite rumours of a retirement, and says he is in “no hurry” to sign a deal with Petronas Yamaha in a deal which is “99% certain”.
The 41-year-old was quick to shut down retirement rumours in Thursday’s pre-San Marino Grand Prix press conference at the Misano circuit, saying that the new deal was simply a matter of time – and that he hoped to be in a position to announce it sooner rather than later.
“The situation is like it was two or three weeks ago, and we are taking our time with Yamaha because we are not in a hurry,” said Rossi.
“We have some things to fix, but we are very close to doing it.
“I want to say that it’s 99% certain I will race with Petronas next year because we haven’t signed yet, but I think that maybe in Barcelona we can make the announcement.”
That fits with what The Race’s sources have indicated, as Rossi, Petronas SRT and Yamaha attempt to figure out the exact details of the three-way contract.
Yamaha pledged early this year to fully support Rossi for 2021 even as they announced Fabio Quartararo as his factory team replacement, but it’s believed that the support is not limitless.
Rossi’s request for both a considerable salary and a full-factory specification bike has meant lawyers are involved in order for three parties time to hash out an acceptable deal.
Rossi blamed his status and the nature of internet news for the retirement rumours resurfacing.
“My retirement is big news, so if you write on the internet that Valentino Rossi is going to retire a lot of people will click it and read it.
“I think this is why people have said it because the situation hasn’t changed and I’ve said many times that I’m going to continue next year.”