The month of March opens with the 2021 Petronas Yamaha Team presentation. The virtual unveiling has revealed the livery of the M1 bikes that will take to the track this season, and their riders too. As well as reconfirmed Franco Morbidelli, the team’s highly anticipated new entry is nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who takes on a new challenge this season.
The 2021 challenge begins
On hand to do the honours was Petronas boss Razlan Razali, who looked back at the 2020 season and outlined the goals for 2021: “I hope 2021 is an exciting year, even if it’s the second with Covid-19. I’m sure that we’ll do well with our new line-up. We achieved incredible results in 2020, with pole positions and wins, and we want to do even better in 2021. In Moto2 we’ll have Jake Dixon and Xavi Vierge, while our MotoGP flagbearers are Franco Morbidelli and living legend Valentino Rossi. The common goal? To win!”
Team Director Johan Stigefelt also took to the stage: “We’ve taken big steps forward in Moto 3 and Moto2 - he explained - achieving podiums and seeing our riders get stronger and stronger. We have two important riders in Moto2. They’ve shown their potential in many races and we expect an increasingly strong 2021 from them. The riders can further improve as they work to find greater feeling. In MotoGP, Franco was very determined in 2020 and should continue to score great results. He’ll have Rossi as a team-mate, who I hope adapts well to the team”.
In the words of the riders
Moto2 riders Xavi Vierge and Jake Dixon also clarified their aims. “My 2021 goal? To fight for the top five”, commented Vierge, “I have more experience and will try not to make the same mistakes as last year. I’ll try to be calmer”. “Our goal is to aim for the podium”, said Dixon, “I’ll try to improve, with less accidents and more consistency".
Veteran John McPhee will fight for the title in Moto3: “The title is within my reach, so I’ll be aiming for that. We have the speed but tactics are sometimes more important than anything else in Moto3, so I’ll try to improve there too”.
“I’ll try to do my best - comments new hire Darryn Binder - and be on the podium as often as possible. I’ll work hard to score the best result in every race. I really want to improve in qualifying, as that’s my weak point”.
Morbidelli and Rossi, the dream team
Lastly, the two MotoGP stars unveiled their prototypes. The livery is similar to that of last season, with its black and emerald green graphics. “It’s great to work with a team for more than one season - said Morbidelli - they are really professional. This year I’ll share the garage with Vale and I expect a good year. I’m excited to get back on the bike, I can’t wait”.
And on the other side of the garage, Valentino Rossi: “I can’t wait to get started - said the nine-time world champion - I want to be competitive, win races, and fight for the podium. We’re focused on doing well, and I’m proud to be part of team Petronas. I’ve had a long career and many seasons with Yamaha, I know the bike and can’t wait to begin this new season”.
Translated by Heather Watson