MotoGP 2020: Rossi set for Petronas deal as Dovi provides shoulder boost

By Peter Hanson 16 July 2020 139
MotoGP 2020: Rossi set for Petronas deal as Dovi provides shoulder boost

All-time great Valentino Rossi is closing in on a new ride for 2021, while Andrea Dovizioso offered a positive fitness update as build-up to the delayed MotoGP season cranked up a gear ahead of Sunday's opener.

MotoGP's 2020 campaign has yet to start due to the coronavirus pandemic but a revised schedule begins in Spain this weekend.

Marc Marquez is once again the man to beat, though the likes of Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales will hope to challenge the Spaniard's dominance.

Ahead of Sunday's action, these are the big newslines from the paddock.


ROSSI SET FOR PETRONAS 2021 RIDE?

The Doctor's future in MotoGP was up in the air after it was announced he would lose his factory Yamaha seat to Quartararo from 2021.

Initially, Rossi wanted to make a decision midway through the 2020 campaign, only for the global health crisis to deny him track time.

Rumours circulated that Rossi has agreed a two-year deal with the Petronas Yamaha squad last week and the man himself told DAZN and Sky Italia such a scenario is close to being completed.

"The news that I signed isn't true, but we're very close to agreeing a contract. I want to continue racing. It's 99 per cent certain that I'll race with the Petronas team in 2021," Rossi said.

"We're still to resolve some details, especially about my team and the people who'll work with me. We're talking about how we'll set up the team, there are a lot of pieces to put into place."


DOVI GOOD TO GO AFTER SHOULDER SURGERY

Dovizioso is a man with title aspirations but there were concerns when the Ducati rider broke his collarbone in a motorcross accident.

He underwent surgery just last month, yet the Italian insists he is feeling good ahead of the season opener.

"My physical condition is really good," Dovizioso said.

"In two weeks, we worked in a perfect way. The people around me did a perfect job. I moved the collarbone already one day after the surgery because I could adapt.

"I don't have any strange pain while riding. I was a bit curious, because MotoGP, the stiffness of the bike, the power we have, you never know until you are on the bike.

"But everything worked well. I'm struggling a bit more about the pain where the cut is, where the leather pushes in that point.

"But not the collarbone. So, pretty happy about that to have that confirmed."


CRUTCHLOW SURPRISED HONDA PLUMPED FOR POL

Cal Crutchlow is, as it stands, without a seat for 2021 as a result of a domino effect that left the Briton a little surprised.

Crutchlow's spot on the LCR Honda seat will be vacated for Alex Marquez, the brother of world champion Marc.

Alex Marquez will ride alongside his sibling on the Repsol Honda team in 2020 but will step aside for Pol Espargaro for next season.

"It didn't come as a surprise, because I knew a while ago and Honda knew that I had requested to speak to other teams," Crutchlow told the Race. 

"It worked both ways, and I wasn't massively surprised at the decision. I was more surprised at who they chose.

"That's not being disrespectful, but if they had chosen someone like Dovi it would be a different scenario or a different feeling for me than if they'd chosen a guy who has had one podium in seven years.

"Moving Alex is a bad situation for him to be moved out of the factory team straight away too."

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