Valentino Rossi has spoken of his sadness and surprise after recording another positive Covid test, putting his planned return to MotoGP action at Valencia this weekend in doubt.
The nine-time world champion was forced to miss both Aragon rounds after falling ill and subsequently testing positive for Covid-19 but felt ‘fully fit’ again within a few days.
However, the Italian won’t be able to return to the MotoGP paddock until he posts two consecutive negative PCR results conducted 48 hours apart (as per FIM rules) and Tuesday’s test was again positive.
More tests will be done, but Monster Yamaha has now put GRT Yamaha WorldSBK rider Garrett Gerloff on standby to replace Rossi for this weekend.
“This virus is very complicated and serious. I felt bad for two days, then in a few days I came back to being fully fit, at my 100%. I self-isolated at home all the time and I followed the medical advice closely,” Rossi said.
“It‘s a very sad and difficult situation, but that‘s the way it is.
“Unfortunately, yesterday (Tuesday 3rd November), I had another test and it came back positive again, like all previous ones. Luckily I still have two more chances to be back on track on Friday or Saturday.
“I am very sad because I am feeling well, and I can‘t wait to be back aboard my M1 and be reunited with my team. I really hope the next PCR test result will be negative, because missing two races was already two too many.”
Team director Massimo Meregalli added: “Unfortunately, despite our hopes, we are entering the final triple header with some uncertainty about our rider line-up.
“Whilst Valentino has been feeling better, we can‘t be sure that he will be able to ride in Valencia this weekend until he has passed the two PCR test with negative results for Covid-19.
“These are strange circumstances: we don‘t know for certain who will be riding the bike this weekend, apart from Maverick. But this is a situation that‘s beyond our control, so all we can do is make sure we are prepared for every eventuality.
“In any case, we are thankful to Garrett Gerloff that he is willing to take on the challenge of riding the YZR-M1. It‘s never an easy task to step in for Vale, these are big shoes to fill, and it‘s especially challenging for Gerloff, having had so little preparation and without any prior MotoGP experience. But that will make the learning experience all the more valuable for him.
“Of course, the team will do anything they can to support him, should he have to replace Valentino this weekend. But naturally we are all still hoping that Valentino will be able to ride, so we can finish his final season with the Factory Yamaha team in the best way possible.”
The only Yamaha rider not still in firm title contention, Rossi’s final three races for the factory team take place over the next three weekends, after which he will switch to Petronas Yamaha for 2021.
Rossi, 41, is the only MotoGP rider to have so far tested positive for Covid-19.