Will the next two races, in Sachsenring and Assen, decide the future of Valentino Rossi‘s MotoGP career?
The Italian says he will make a decision on whether to race on in 2022 during the summer break, with results the main factor.
Unfortunately for the nine-time world champion, results have been hard to come by so far this season.
Rossi arrives in Germany with a best of tenth place and just 19th in the world championship for Petronas Yamaha, exactly 100 points behind fellow Factory-spec M1 rider Fabio Quartararo.
In other words, it doesn’t look good. But as The Doctor himself says, things can change quickly in MotoGP, especially with the timesheets as close as they currently are. Might an eleventh-hour breakthrough at Sachsenring or Assen yet swing his 2022 decision?
After the disappointment of crashing out in the Barcelona race – where all the Yamahas unexpectedly struggled to replicate their practice speed – Rossi set a competitive pace in the Monday test, finishing with the tenth fastest lap time, 0.650s from Quartararo’s team-mate Maverick Vinales.
“We had a good test at Catalunya; we tried some settings that we wanted to look at and my pace was good. I was in the top-ten and the feeling was positive. I hope we can continue this in Germany and have a good weekend, where our race goes like we expect,” Rossi said.
Sachsenring will be a step into the unknown for everyone, being the first circuit so far this season that hasn’t hosted a race or any private MotoGP testing since the pre-Covid 2019 campaign.
“It’s a very different track to the others, with a lot of the corners on the left and this makes it quite a tricky circuit, it can be very difficult sometimes – but I have had some great battles in the past there, especially in 2009!” Rossi added. “I’m looking forward to returning there after we could not race there last year.”
Team-mate Franco Morbidelli finished just behind Rossi in ninth place during the 2019 edition of the German Grand Prix, since which he has gone on to claim three MotoGP wins, six podiums and two pole positions.
Only one of those rostrums has come from the seven races so far this season, but with Sachsenring the shortest circuit on the calendar, Morbidelli’s A-Spec bike at last won’t face such a top speed disadvantage this weekend.
“We have the positives from Friday and Saturday at Catalunya, and also from the test there, to take with us to Germany this weekend,” said Morbidelli, who was ninth in the race, then eighth at the test.
“I hope that we can use these and be stronger at Sachsenring, but of course we will have to see what happens when we get there. It’s a nice track, very tight in places, and I’m looking forward to being back there this weekend.
“In fact, I remember the first time that I rode here in Moto2. I didn’t know the circuit and I was fighting for the podium in the race! I’m looking to face these next two races before the summer break in the best way possible.”