Having a lacklustre previous season and with race wins proving elusive, nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has hinted he would be open to an offer from MotoGP satellite team Petronas Yamaha SRT in 2021, should the opportunity present itself. Speaking to Italian website Gazzetta dello Sport and translated by motorsport.com, Rossi said he was aware that with his contract with Yamaha ending at the end of 2020 and the Yamaha factory team eyeing Fabio Quartararo for 2021, his options are diminishing.

Riding a Yamaha YZR-M1 that was down on speed to the race machines of Honda and Ducati in 2019, Rossi expressed a wish for a faster bike. “I would like an M1 that goes 10 km/h faster in a straight line, like the Honda and the Ducati. But I know it will be difficult,” he said.

Although Yamaha Racing has previously said Rossi will always have a place on the team as long as he wants it, the Italian fan favourite knows three riders into two factory race team seats will not work. “I don’t see all that much difference to go to Petronas,” said Rossi, “I would prefer to stay where I am, but we are three riders for two places, so you have to think of a third [place].”

Rossi’s current Yamaha Racing team mate Maverick Vinales has been in Ducati’s crosshairs for a while now, but no firm news has emerged as to whether the young Spaniard would consider a move to Ducati Corse. Quartararo’s seven podium finishes with Petronas Yamaha SRT is certainly in his favour when it comes to the game of MotoGP musical chairs in 2021.