Rossi addresses retirement talk at Yamaha launch

Monster Yamaha MotoGP team members at the 2020 presentation

Seven-time MotoGP™ world champion Valentino Rossi has revealed he hopes to race through both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Speculation surrounding the 40-year-old’s future has been a constant ever since the Italian finished seventh in the 2019 world championship.

Rossi finished a whopping 246 points behind world champion Marc Marquez but the Monster Energy Yahama rider is hopeful his new bike – the Yamaha YZR-M1 – will help him bridge the gap.

The team’s 2020 bike features the same colour scheme as last year and speaking at the launch, Rossi said: “My target is to try to continue next year [2021].

“But if results aren’t what I expect, it becomes difficult. 

“For this reason, when I speak to Yamaha [about a contract], I was not ready to decide, unlike the last contract that I signed when I was sure and I signed before Qatar [in 2018].”

The man affectionately known as ‘The Doctor’ acknowledged that if things remained the same in 2020, he would strongly consider retirement.

“I don’t want to continue like this,” Rossi added.

“If it’s like this, it’s better that I stop.”

Rossi will again pair up with Maverick Vinales for the Monster Energy Yamaha team in 2020.

Vinales finished third in the world championship last year and said he is out to take the title off Marquez.

Marquez has won six of the last seven world titles but Vinales said: “I’m really excited to start working again on our goal – to get the title and as many wins as possible … I’ve used the winter months really well.

“I’ve done a lot of physical training and riding to make sure my body and mind are in top shape.”

MotoGP™ pre-season testing continues in Sepang from February 7, ahead of the 2020 season opener in Qatar in March.

Follow the Action