Short Shift News’ Big Bike Chat: Quartararo “Cannot replace Rossi”
It’s been a busy week in the racing paddocks, here are some of the biggest stories of the week.
• Ducati has announced, after months of speculation, their 2021 rider line-up, with Pramac Racing duo Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia being promoted to the factory team, while Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin will fill the Pramac seats.
• Fabio Quartararo will join Maverick Viñales in the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team next season, but the young Frenchman claims that he “cannot replace Valentino Rossi”.
“For me, I can’t replace him because Valentino is Valentino. I’m taking his bike, of course, it will be a new bike. But I’m not taking his place. His place is still there because he made history with Yamaha. I think they spent close to 10 years together.
“So, for me, the place of Valentino nobody can touch it and I’m just taking his bike, and his place will be there forever.”
• Honda has revealed that they have had to change their bike “more than they expected” to suit the 2020 Michelin rear tyre. Honda lost their key rider in Marc Marquez, with Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez flying the flag for the Japanese giants. In an interview in Austria, Cal Crutchlow said that “We’re struggling to match the rear tyre to the power and the feeling of the bike as well.” However, things won’t get better for Honda as the technical regulations are frozen for 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Aprilia have thanked their rivals for allowing the Italian firm to continue with their engine development throughout ‘lockdown’. The manufacturer from Noale experienced engine troubles throughout pre-season, requesting, and being granted, extra engine development time along with concession counterparts KTM. Aprilia was able to change piston spec, solving their issue ahead of the 2020 season.
• Valentino Rossi suggests that plans are in place for his team to line-up on the MotoGP grid. The Doctor has just confirmed a contract extension with Yamaha, though he will ride for the SRT squad. Rossi confirmed that he has held conversations with Lin Jarvis regarding the future of his team, but says it is “too early” to say for sure. Should Rossi take the Yamaha machines, PETRONAS could join Suzuki as a title sponsor for the factory team, or to build the satellite team Davide Brivio has been eyeing up.
• The PATA Yamaha WorldSBK seat looks to be between Garrett Gerloff and 2020 World Supersport champion, Andrea Locatelli, suggesting Loris Baz will remain with the Ten Kate squad in 2021. However, news is expected in the near future as World Superbikes heads to Magny-Cours.
• Karel Hanika will make his World Supersport debut this weekend. The Czech rider is fresh from an EWC victory in Estoril with YART Yamaha and will ride for the WRP Wepol Racing team. Meanwhile, Sharni Pinfold has been called up to replace Alex at the Smrz Racing by Blue Garage in Supersport 300.
• Markus Reiterberger will make his Bennetts British Superbike debut this weekend, joining his EWC team-mate Peter Hickman in the Global Robots BMW team. Reiterberger is set to replace Alex Olsen who is recovering from his Silverstone qualifying accident.
Featured image: MotoGP.com