The five-week summer break has allowed the world championship riders to restore both body and mind but now it’s time to return to the track. Valentino Rossi, who has also used the break to decide as to his future, will be back on the team Petronas Yamaha M1, a bike with which he’s scored little in the way of results so far. And he’ll have a new team-mate in the shape of Cal Crutchlow, standing in for injured Franco Morbidelli.

On paper, not the best track for Yamaha

“The summer break has been good,” comments the Doctor. “I was able to relax and spend some time away with my people, before heading back home for some training on the bikes. It will be nice to be racing again this weekend, but to be honest I’m not sure it is the best track for us”.

It’s true that the track doesn’t exactly smile on the Yamaha, but Rossi did score a fifth place last year, and fourth place in both 2016 and 2019.

The Italian continues: “We know the areas where our bike is strong, but there are also areas that we need to improve and I think the Austrian track might not play to our strengths. We will need to try to find the best balance for these next two races, as they are both at Spielberg, and aim to achieve the maximum that is possible for us."

Cal’s return

Franco Morbidelli continues with his recovery, having undergone knee surgery in late June. He won’t be back before September and is therefore replaced at the next three races by Cal Crutchlow, the Iwata manufacturer’s test rider, who comments: I’m really looking forward to being back on the grid and getting into the swing of a race weekend again, although it’s going to feel very different to the job that I’ve been doing this year as Yamaha’s test rider. The circuit at Spielberg isn’t one that I’ve enjoyed too much in the past, however I did finish fourth in 2018 and that was a good result”.

The Brit hasn’t raced since last year and admits: I don’t have a target as such when it comes to results, my main aim will just be to try to improve session by session. I’ll be working with Ramon Forcada, who knows the Yamaha bike very well. I just want to make sure that I do a good job for the team”.

Translated by Heather Watson

MotoGP: Valentino Rossi, the pros and cons of another year on track