Valentino Rossi (left) and friend and protégé Franco Morbidelli – the unequal duo at Petronas Yamaha SRT, which will contest the coming season together for the Malaysian team (© MotoGP).

Valentino Rossi and his new existence as a “private driver rookie”

MotoGP press conferences are a horror for many riders. A driver who never made a secret of it is or was Andrea Dovizioso. For the coming season everything looks like the Italian won’t have to do this to himself in 2021. He sometimes made such refreshing sayings as “no matter what I answer to you all journalists, you will write whatever you want afterwards anyway and not what I said!“. He was absolutely right, the proof of this can be found daily in portals such as Red Bull Media. Furthermore, he and many of his former colleagues were often angry that when Valentino Rossi was present, over 90 percent of the questions were directed to this MotoGP icon. This now has a completely new status, which has interesting side effects.

Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli are an absolute godsend for Petronas Yamaha SRT. The explanation for this is obvious and this should also be fine with the two pilots (© MotoGP).

The lottery six for Petronas Yamaha SRT

Team manager Razlan Razali definitely doesn’t need to play the lottery, he won six in another form last year. His duo for the coming season can be described as an absolute dream team. On the one hand there is the old master. You don’t need to introduce “Dottore” Valentino Rossi anywhere, he outshines almost everything that is otherwise in the world of sports. He works like a magnet for MotoGP and is worth gold for Yamaha and their private team, regardless of his successes. In addition, his protégé and teammate Franco Morbidelli is the absolute underdog, at least in terms of his attention from the press and the public. He is the son of a Brazilian mother and an Italian former racing driver who committed suicide in 2013.

MotoRacers Zippy in Sepang – as if there were a lot of disciples among her like from a sect who profess a kind of savior through the yellow color. The man who has made this color the dominant MotoGP race for decades has an attraction and sympathy that borders on the magical.

Morbido’s advantage – almost everyone underestimates him

Nobody expects top results from him, and as runner-up world champion he is automatically one of the title favorites for 2021. Without the two at least partly involuntary failures in the 2nd race in Jerez and the Austrian GP, the Roman would have fought for the title to the end. With an engine failure in Andalusia and the terrible crash after contact with Zarco, Morbidelli also lost important points in the next race in Spielberg. He brought up his underdog role at a press conference in 2020 in an answer to a question from a journalist in Aragon when he said “yesterday I was an absolute nobody for you all reporters and nobody knew me, but now you suddenly treat me like one of the most important drivers because I’m in front again? “. However, it is definitely doubtful that he will always be in the shadow of his team-mate who outshines everything on the track in 2021.

Fabio Quartararo ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Joan Mir (Suzuki) – the Frenchman was considered by most observers to be the big co-favorite of the 2020 season. In the end, however, his Italian team-mate was the man who clearly outperformed him in terms of performance (© MotoGP).

The world’s best-paid private driver ever and the new advantage

It is hardly conceivable that before Valentino Rossi in the racing of all series in the world a pilot earned more as a private driver than the old master from Tavullia. For the darling of a majority of Spanish fans, in addition to enviable income from fees and, above all, sponsorship money and merchandising millions, there is another completely new advantage for him: As soon as Valentino does not reach the podium, but still finishes as the best “private driver” His fans can look forward to a guaranteed entertaining interview with him. In this respect, the season can hardly start better for the majority of MotoGP fans. After his retirement as an active driver, he will also often attract more public attention as a team boss than his drivers. The bottom line is that it is a pure win-win situation for everyone involved.

Photographed by us in Losail in March 2019 with from left Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) and “Pecco” Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati). The MotoGP senior has had too many crashes in the last two years and everyone is excited to see how things will go for him next season.

The previous successes of Rossi and Morbidelli in Grand Prix sport

At Valentino Rossi one can speak of an unbelievable and almost incomparable career, if you look at his previous successes. He won more than half of the races in a season several times. The 2003 season is also unique, with 16 races and just as many podium places for the crowd’s favorite. His absolutely only problem in recent years has been the dwindling number of podiums, not to mention the titles. But with a total of 9 World Cup titles, he is currently ahead of all his competitors, including Marc Marquez.

Franco Morbidelli has a manageable balance sheet compared to his mentor and new teammate. But for a career changer from Superstock series in GP sport, he can be more than proud of his previous successes. Some of his current competitors in the premier class are missing a Moto2 world title. Even more important for the coming season is its steep upward curve in MotoGP. The only possible increase in “Morbido” is indeed the world championship title for 2021.

The provisional calendar for 2021 by MotoGP and WSBK

Please don’t print it out, it shouldn’t be worth the paper. Joking aside, like many other observers, at least we don’t believe in the numerous overseas races. We were right in the first edition on November 6, 2020, when we doubted the Grand Prix of Argentina and Texas. We should be right about this, just like when we announced (beginning of Jan-2021) the cancellation of the Sepang tests in February. Furthermore, we don’t think starting in Qatar is a good idea, but FIM and Dorna stubbornly pushed through for reasons that are incomprehensible. For teams and drivers, it is to be hoped that there will not be another corona disaster due to the large number of flights required. This would endanger the rest of the season.

The contract has not yet been signed for the WSBK Australia Round. The MotoGP race dates, which collide with a WorldSBK weekend, are shown in red, which only means a real overlap at the GP of San Marino. Due to the time change in Japan and Indonesia, however, this is not critical. However, these dates are considered highly questionable anyway.