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29 Jan, 2020 15:04

Valentino Rossi to retire? MotoGP legend to decide on his future after Yamaha signs Fabio Quartararo as his replacement for 2021

Valentino Rossi to retire? MotoGP legend to decide on his future after Yamaha signs Fabio Quartararo as his replacement for 2021

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi will make a decision on his retirement from the sport this coming season after the factory Yamaha team announced French rider Fabio Quartararo will replace the Italian superstar in the team from 2021.

French ace Quartararo has impressed for the satellite Petronas Yamaha team so far in his career at the top level of motorcycle racing, and his displays have earned him a full factory ride alongside Rossi's Spanish teammate Maverick Vinales in 2021. But that comes at the expense of Rossi, who is considered by many to be the greatest man to ever race on two wheels.

Now 40, Rossi will have to decide on his next move, with the Italian left to work out whether he wants to retire at the end of the 2020 season – his 25th season in grand prix racing – or switch to another team for 2021.

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"Yamaha asked me at the beginning of the year to make a decision regarding my future," said the nine-time world champion.

"It is clear that after the last technical changes and with the arrival of my new crew chief, my first goal is to be competitive this year and to continue my career as a MotoGP rider also in 2021.

"Before doing so, I need to have some answers that only the track and the first few races can give me."

Yamaha's decision to announce Quartararo so early has put additional strain on the team boss Lin Jarvis, who said that the team was forced to look to the future, with a host of teams looking to secure Quartararo's signature.

But he also revealed that, even though there may not be a place for Rossi in the official factory team from 2021, Yamaha would still support the Italian if he decided to go it alone or join a satellite team.

"It's a weird sensation to start a season knowing that Vale will not be in the factory team in 2021, but Yamaha will still be there for Valentino, whatever he may decide for the future," he explained.

"If he feels confident and continues to race, we will provide a factory-spec YZR-M1 bike and full engineering support."

The 2020 MotoGP season gets underway in Qatar on March 8.

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