Rossi may race in European GP, pending COVID test

Lewis Duncan
·3-min read

Rossi tested positive for the virus ahead of the Aragon GP and was forced out of the two rounds at the Spanish venue.

He underwent another test on Thursday after a test on Tuesday returned as positive and is preparing to travel to Valencia, where he will undergo a second PCR test.

MotoGP organisers Dorna Sports has told Motorsport.com that Rossi will only be allowed entry to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit if he passes the second PCR test. 

Due to the 24-hour waiting period required between PCR tests, Rossi will miss FP1 and it will be touch and go as to whether he will be able to take part in FP2 should he test negative.

A brief statement from Yamaha read: "Today (Thursday 5 November), Valentino Rossi has taken a PCR test and the result came back negative for the COVID-19 virus. 

"As per the Italian law, the Yamaha rider is now allowed to end his self-isolation and take part in everyday society again. Rossi will take this opportunity to fly to Valencia, Spain, this evening.

"Tomorrow (Friday 6 November), he will do a second PCR test and if the result is negative again, he will be able to reunite with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team and take part in this weekend‘s Gran Premio de Europa."

On Wednesday Yamaha announced American World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff had been chosen by the Japanese marque as its standby replacement for Rossi after the Italian failed a COVID-19 test on Tuesday. 

Yamaha has not stated whether Gerloff will ride the M1 in FP1 still.

Gerloff rides for Yamaha in WSBK for the GRT team and made his debut in the series this year having had success in the MotoAmerica series. 

Gerloff scored three podiums in 2020 across the Catalan and Portuguese rounds late in the season, and will remain with GRT for 2021. 

His MotoGP debut this weekend would have marked the first premier class race start for an American rider since the late Nicky Hayden stood in for the injured Dani Pedrosa at Honda for the Australian Grand Prix. 

America hasn’t had a full-time MotoGP rider since Hayden’s final campaign on the Aspar Honda in 2015, after which he departed to WSBK with Ten Kate on Honda machinery. 

On Thursday, Gerloff said it was an “honour” Yamaha chose him as its standby and called the chance to ride Rossi’s M1 “something dreams are made of”.

“As a Yamaha rider and as a motorcycle fan in general, to potentially ride one of the greatest of all time’s bike, that’s definitely an honour and it’s some big shoes [to fill],” he said.

“But it would be amazing. I’ve been watching MotoGP since like 2006 and he’s always been the best guy or one of the best guys. 

“So, for sure I have a lot of respect for Valentino. He’s an amazing rider, I don’t have words, it’s something that dreams are made of.”