Debutant Gerloff on MotoGP stand-by with Rossi still Covid-19 positive

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Valentino Rossi last won a MotoGP championship in 2009
Valentino Rossi last won a MotoGP championship in 2009

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi remains a doubt for this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia after contracting coronavirus, his Yamaha team said on Wednesday.

Rossi, 41, who has finished just five of the season's 11 Grands Prix to date, will be replaced by American Garrett Gerloff if he fails to return two negative tests, 48 hours apart, ahead of the race.

"Today the Italian will undergo a new test," Yamaha said Wednesday. 

"Should he test negative, he will still have enough time to complete the required second PCR test and fly to Valencia.

"Should Rossi be deemed 'unfit' to ride in Valencia, Gerloff will be backed by the number-46 rider's usual crew for his very first riding experience aboard a YZR-M1," the factory team added.

Rossi last raced at the French Grand Prix on October after testing positive following the Le Mans event. He has retired from four of his nine races in 2020 and is 15th overall in the championship.

"Luckily I still have two more chances to be back on track on Friday or Saturday. I am very sad because I am feeling well, and I can't wait to be back aboard my M1 and be reunited with my team," Rossi said in a statement.

"I really hope the next PCR test result will be negative, because missing two races was already two too many," he added.

Gerloff, 25, could make his MotoGP bow in Spain before the season culminates with the Valencia GP at the same venue on November 15 and the Portuguese GP a week later in Portimao.