Rossi moves to Yamaha's satellite team for 2021 season

<i> Image: AFP / Javier Soriano </i>
<i> Image: AFP / Javier Soriano </i>
Javier Soriano

• Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will move to the Yamaha satellite team in 2021.

• The Italian currently competes for the Yamaha factory team alongside Maverick Vinales. 

• Rossi penned a one-year deal with the Petronas Yamaha Sepang team. 

Valentino Rossi has signed a one-year contract extension with Yamaha which will see him move to the manufacturer's satellite team for the 2021 season, the MotoGP outfit announced on Saturday.

"Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has signed a one-year renewal agreement with Grand Prix racing legend Valentino Rossi," Yamaha said in a statement.

"The nine-time World Champion will be participating in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship as a fully supported Factory Yamaha rider for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team."

Considered one of the greatest motorcyclists of all time, 41-year-old Italian has won the world championship seven times, with four of those titles coming with Yamaha.

"I am very happy to continue riding in 2021 and to do it with the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team," Rossi said in a statement.

"In the first half of the year I made my choice and I talked with Yamaha, who agreed with me. They told me even if there was no place for me in the Factory Team, the factory bike and the factory support were guaranteed."

Rossi currently rides for Yamaha's factory team alongside Maverick Vinales but is currently ninth in the overall standings, 26 points behind championship leader and fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso.

Spaniard Vinales is one point behind Dovizioso, level on 83 with Frenchman Fabio Quartararo who rides for the Yamaha-SRT team.

Quartararo will take Rossi's place at Yamaha's factory team next season after agreeing the move back in January, which had prompted questions about Rossi's future in the sport.

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