Early 2018 MotoGP contract deals are 'wrong' says Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi believes it is "wrong" that MotoGP contracts are being determined so early in the 2018 season

Early 2018 MotoGP contract deals are 'wrong' says Valentino Rossi

Just six rounds into the current season, the make-up of the grid for the 2019 campaign is almost set after one of the most volatile and unpredictable silly seasons in recent memory.

Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo's spectacular defection to Honda followed his first victory for the Italian marque last weekend at Mugello, with Danilo Petrucci promoted from the satellite Pramac team to replace him.

Dani Pedrosa, who had been a works Honda rider since 2006, was dropped to make room for Lorenzo. Elsewhere, Andrea Iannone will leave Suzuki despite an upturn in form on board the GSX-RR at the start of this year.

Rossi announced a fresh two-year contract with Yamaha on the eve of the current season, and he says that Lorenzo and Iannone are proof that MotoGP teams should take more time before making decisions on their line-ups for the following year.

"It's wrong that they have to decide contracts so early," said Rossi.

"The situation of Iannone, Lorenzo and others attests that everything is decided maybe in the first three races. For me, there's too much haste.

"I even signed before the start of the season, but I think my decision is a bit different, given that I decided to stay with Yamaha to continue racing for another two years.

"For others who are fighting for important seats, it's certainly a problem to decide this early."

He added: "Lorenzo and Iannone, when they realised they were in danger of being out of a ride, started to get strong, and therefore started putting their teams in a bit of difficulty.

"It would be nice to say we start talking about the [following] year only in the second part of the season. But I realise it's a difficult thing to control."

The only two factory seats for 2019 still officially open are at Suzuki and Aprilia, but Moto2 star Joan Mir is closing on a deal with the former, while Iannone is the favourite to replace Scott Redding at the latter.

With the exception of Lorenzo's Ducati replacement Danilo Petrucci, who is signed for only one year, all of the factory deals agreed so far also cover the 2020 season as well as 2019.

2019 MotoGP grid so far

Honda: Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo
Yamaha: Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales
Ducati: Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci
Suzuki: Alex Rins, Joan Mir
Aprilia: Aleix Espargaro, Andrea Iannone*
KTM: Pol Espargaro, Johann Zarco
LCR Honda: Cal Crutchlow, TBA
Tech3 KTM: Miguel Oliveira, Hafizh Syahrin
Pramac Ducati: Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller*
Nieto: TBA
Avintia: Xavier Simeon, TBA

* Not yet announced

shares
comments
Marc VDS MotoGP team and Michael Bartholemy reach agreement over split

Previous article

Marc VDS MotoGP team and Michael Bartholemy reach agreement over split

Next article

Iannone closes on '19 Aprilia MotoGP ride as Suzuki announces split

Iannone closes on '19 Aprilia MotoGP ride as Suzuki announces split
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Jamie Klein
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Plus

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Plus

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike? Plus

Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike?

Against the expected run of play at Qatar's Losail circuit, both Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo carved through a resolute Ducati defence to secure back-to-back MotoGP wins for the Japanese marque. After a difficult 2020, it appears that Yamaha has swaggered back into championship contention

MotoGP
Apr 5, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Plus

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue Plus

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader? Plus

Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader?

OPINION: Johann Zarco talked a big game pre-season, and is so far vindicating himself as a factory rider at Pramac after finishing the Qatar GP as top Ducati in second. And contrasting his and Jack Miller's weekends and their approaches, is Zarco emerging as Ducati's true MotoGP leader?

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2021