PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) principal Datuk Razlan Razali has announced his intention to retain Italian rider Franco Morbidelli for next season and beyond, quashing rumours of having two new men in the MotoGP line-up for 2021.
Razlan will lose MotoGP rising star Fabio Quartararo as the Frenchman will move up to the factory Yamaha squad alongside Spaniard Maverick Vinales and he is keen on keeping at least one of his current riders.
Italian veteran Valentino Rossi has hinted that he wants to continue his MotoGP career into 2021 because of the disruption to the current calendar and the nine-time world champion is assured of full-factory support from Yamaha as long as he wants to continue.
Rossi is likely to don Petronas colours next season and speculation is rife that he will reunite with former world champion Jorge Lorenzo if the Spaniard decides to come out of retirement.
But Razlan is keen to keep Morbidelli, a former Moto2 world champion, in his line-up.
“To reinforce the stability in the team, I think it’s important to retain Franco. It is risky to have two new riders for next year. We prefer to stick with one of those we already know.
“Morbidelli provides very good information about the behaviour of the bike, both to us and Yamaha. It’s possible we will close the contract renewal before the first race starts this season, ” he said.