Legendary MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi has his money on Marc Marquez to win this year’s MotoGP world title.
Pushed to pick his Top 5 for 2020 at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Italian champion called Vale goes for Marquez, who is trying for a ninth championship which would equal Rossi’s own effort through his long career.
The rest of Rossi’s Top 5 are Andrea Dovizioso from Ducati, his Yamaha team mate Maverick Viñales, Alex Rins on a Suzuki and Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha.
Perhaps surprisingly, Rossi is not tipping himself – although he is keen to win a GP for the first time since 2017.
Rossi will be having his last season in the factory Monster Yamaha team but is already set to continue his career into 2021 with the Petronas Yamaha SRT team which has been a stand-out since joining the series.
“I already agreed with Yamaha and I spoke already with Petronas and everything is fixed,” says Rossi.
“I haven’t signed the contract because it’s still not ready because we have to build the team and it depends very much if a lot of people will move from one team to the other because Fabio and I will switch position. But I think that we’ll fix it as soon as possible.”
Rossi admits the COVID-19 pandemic has changed his thinking.
“For me the situation changed the plan a bit because I needed to race in 2020 to decide if I was going to race in 2021, to see if I can still be fast and competitive. But, in the end, I have to make my decision without racing.
“But I spoke a lot with Yamaha and I want to continue. It’ll be a big effort because when you’re old you have to work very hard, but I want to be part of the game, also next year.”
Rossi is happy to talk about the return to racing in Spain, where much of this year’s world title will be focussed.
“I think that all the fans around the world and the people who work here miss MotoGP a lot, so it’s great that we’ll restart.”
He also says he had to make big adjustments to life without racing.
“It’s a very strange situation. Also, a long, long time at home is a different feeling because I raced in the world championship for 24, 25 years.
“It’s a different feeling because it’s strange for us to live without the pressure and adrenaline of the race weekend. It was strange at the beginning, a little bit boring also because we were close to starting and we stopped for two months.
“But then, when you understand your rhythm and everything, it’s also good to stay at home. I feel good. But I’m very happy to restart.”