Petronas SRT rider Fabio Quartararo says he ‘can’t replace’ Valentino Rossi as he will be taking his current seat at Petronas SRT for the 2021 MotoGP season.
Quartararo says that switching to Yamaha factory team in 2021 would simply mean he is taking Rossi’s bike. The 9-time world champion was announced to be joining the Malaysian outfit in a one-year deal, that was announced last weekend.
Yamaha made a move to sign Quartararo as their vacant seat is getting very keen attention from Ducatti on the 2019 rookie sensation as Rossi’s original plans were to assess his performance in the opening rounds before making a decision on where to base his career in the future which triggered him being ruled out of the Ducatti works team.
Quartararo’s deal with Yamaha to ride beside Maverick Vinales will last for two years, running through to 2022. In an interview Quartararo said that he was pleased with Yamaha for believing in him for its future back in January, but also feels that nobody can touch Rossi’s place.
“I was quite surprised because we make the choice quite fast in the beginning of the year,” Quartararo said when asked if Yamaha signing him over Rossi was a boost to his confidence.
“Even the end of last year. But it was good. I’m really happy that Yamaha believes in me for the two next years in their team…So, will feel strange to have the bike of Vale, not the place, the bike.
“So, I’m really happy, but we need to keep focusing on this year to be in a position to face the grands prix. For me, I can’t replace him because Valentino is Valentino. I’m taking his bike, of course it will be a new bike.”
“But I’m not taking his place. His place is still there because he made history with Yamaha. I think they spent close to 10 years together, So, for me, the place of Valentino nobody can touch it and I’m just taking his bike, and his place will be there forever.”
Valentino Rossi will be receiving full factory support and also machine specifications with Quartararo and Vinales at Petronas SRT for the 2021 MotoGP season. He had also pushed to have his crew move with him to the new team but after holding several talks with the team, he will be only be able to move with crew chief David Munoz, rider coach Idalio Gavira and data analyst Matteo Flamigni. The 41-year-old’s deal with Petronas SRT will be lasting for only one year contrary to the 1+1 he had originally requested with Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis explaining last weekend that this was a result of technicality in that the Japanese outfit doesn’t have a deal in place with MotoGP or SRT past 2021.