In this series of previews ahead of the MotoGP season, we look at the teams and how they could perform. In this article, we discuss Petronas SRT.
Make sure to check out our other team previews too!
The Petronas Yamaha team shook things up in 2020. The customer team won races and took podiums galore as they surged to second place in the Teams’ Standings.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo played a big part in that achievement. He’s departed to ride for the factory Yamaha team this year. His replacement is The Doctor, Valentino Rossi.
Rossi’s vast experience of the premier class will help guide the inexperienced squad. He knows the Yamaha bike like the back of his hand. For a team hoping to sustain its performance level, a rider like Rossi is a big boost. He should hit the ground running.
Rossi’s teammate is talented Italian Franco Morbidelli. The youngster shone in 2020 as he took the checkered flag three times. Morbidelli rode a fast machine last year; he demonstrated his ability to cash in and win.
The aggressive rider fears no-one on track, while he is also an excellent front-runner. The continuity he has with the team should see him maintain last year’s level. Morbidelli can tap into the knowledge of his legendary teammate to become a better rider.
With a quick bike, a good team and two top riders, the Petronas team will compete for the big prizes in 2021.
Petronas SRT looked like real championship contenders in 2020, with Fabio Quartararo looking dominant in the opening stages of the year. This year, the team has an exciting addition in nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, who replaces Quartararo.
I think everyone in the MotoGP world is eager to see how The Doctor can get on in 2021, after a quiet period on the factory Yamaha, he will certainly hope to reignite his race-winning side.
In the other side of the garage is Franco Morbidelli, arguably the dark horse of 2020, finishing second in the championship, just 13 points behind Joan Mir.
The Italian rider has proven potential in MotoGP, finishing on the top spot in the premier class three times last year and finishing in the top 5 in seven of the 14 races, Morbidelli will no doubt be confident he can carry that form into 2021.
The Petronas SRT squad looked strong during pre-season testing, with Morbidelli ending the second test fourth in the combined times, with only the two factory Yamaha’s and Jack Miller’s Ducati ahead.
It would be unwise to write off Petronas SRT’s chances of putting up a championship battle this year. With the potential of Morbidelli, and the experience of Rossi, I think we’ll see them at the front of the grid on a regular basis.