With Silly Season in full swing, a particularly persistent rumor refuses to budge: that of Valentino Rossi’s seemingly inevitable MotoGP team.
Having a team in both Moto3 and Moto2, one could easily assume that a living legend like Valentino Rossi-backed team in MotoGP is right around the corner. Somehow, some way, despite all the times that Rossi has confirmed he has no plans to field a MotoGP in the near future, the rumor continues to abound.
Ciao a tutti e buone vacanze!☀️🏄🚣🏼♀️🤽🏼♂️🛵🛥⛱🏝 pic.twitter.com/rvDWPDzNHl
— Valentino Rossi (@ValeYellow46) July 6, 2017
Chalk it up to the summer “Silly Season”, but try as we collectively might, there seems to be a rampant persistence of the notion that the “Greatest of All Time” will be hanging up the helmet soon to transition into a more managerial position over his stable of young riders in Moto3, Moto2 – and yes, in MotoGP.
While there will certainly be a plethora of Rossi fanboys who will rejoice at even the smallest prospect of such a reality, Tech 3 Yamaha’s team principal Herve Poncharal has a mind to put one final nail in the coffin of such talk – at least until 2021:
“We hear a lot, and I of course hear a lot, that Valentino Rossi wants a MotoGP team. He has denied it, but still there are rumours and having a Moto3 and Moto2 team it would make sense one day to have also a MotoGP team. I’m not stupid!”
So what will happen in case Valentino retires at the end of 2018? I don’t know. Valentino recently said he might continue riding in 2019 anyway.
The thing I can tell you, and this is very clear, is the six independent teams: LCR, Pramac, Gresini, Tech3, Aspar and Avintia have a contract until 2021. That contract says that no-one can come into this championship as a new team.
If someone wants to join they must either buy an existing team, or make a deal with an existing team… Nothing else but a second bike to Lucio [Cecchinelli, LCR Honda rider] can happen until the end of 2021.
So, it’s impossible for somebody, let’s say VR, to join in 2019. Unless everyone agrees to another two bikes. That’s not going to happen because you lose your value.” – Herve Poncharal
— Valentino Rossi (@ValeYellow46) July 1, 2017
From Poncharal’s words, a Rossi MotoGP entry seems far more likely for 2021. Hell, if Valentino can keep pumping out the sort of performance that he’s kept up for the better part of his lifetime, there’s absolutely no telling how far the grizzled Italian is willing to go. We all know that he’s got nothing left to prove, but something tells us that giving up the ride is something he isn’t ready for. Barring any sort of gruesome injury, it’s very likely that we’ll see Rossi zip around global circuits until the spark finally dies out.
And yet, we can know for sure that once Rossi steps off the grid for the last time, he’ll be right there in the pits to coach a young generation of riders.