Valentino Rossi will undergo his final race for the factory Yamaha team this weekend, as the MotoGP championship heads to Portimao for the 2020 season finale.
We have known since Catalunya that Valentino Rossi will join the PETRONAS SRT team in a straight swap with Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, meaning that this weekend’s one-off Grand Prix in Portugal is the final race for the Italian with the factory team.
Rossi has been with the factory Iwata manufacturer for 15 years and will end that relationship at Portimao this weekend.
The Doctor will head to Razlan Razali’s PETRONAS outfit, a team that has won six Grand Prix’s in 2020 in the hands of Quartararo and VR46 academy graduate Franco Morbidelli.
The 41-year-old currently lies in a lowly 15th place in the championship after having the worst season of his career. Rossi, who has retired from five Grand Prix’s also missed two races due to contracting COVID-19 – meaning Valencia was his first points-scoring finish since the first visit to Misano back in September.
Speaking ahead of this weekend, Rossi said:
Valentino Rossi – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 15th“Going to Portimão is really great, that track is fantastic. The grip there is better than in Valencia, so that will help us. I felt really good during the test at the Algarve track earlier this year. It‘s different from all the other tracks that we visited throughout the season, and it‘s new for everybody, so that makes it very interesting. We will see.”
Both Rossi and Yamaha will be hoping that Portimao’s newly laid tarmac can offer them the grip they need to be more consistent throughout the race weekend and ultimately end his stint as a top-flight Yamaha rider on a high.
Of course, this weekend will also see the departure of many of Rossi’s crew as only chief mechanic David Muñoz, Electronics Engineer, Matteo Flamigni and rider coach Idalio Gavira will follow him to PETRONAS.
The MotoGP finale gets underway on Friday with free practice one at 10:10 local time.