Yamaha won’t replace Rossi for MotoGP Teruel GP, ending Lorenzo speculation

Nine-time Grand Prix World Champion Rossi tested positive for COVID-19 at his home in Tavullia, Italy on Thursday and was banned from the Aragon GP that weekend.

Due to the regulations of the Italian government regarding COVID-19, any person who tests positive for the virus must adhere to a 10-day quarantine period from the time they receive their positive PCR result.

With the second Aragon GP weekend only five days away, Rossi won’t be back until the European Grand Prix in November at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit near Valencia.

Rossi’s absence sparked speculation that three-time MotoGP world champion Lorenzo might make a surprise comeback in racing at the Teruel GP next weekend.

PLUS: Why Yamaha won’t have a Hulkenberg moment with Lorenzo

After retiring from racing late last year, Lorenzo returned to Yamaha as an official test driver.

However, Lorenzo only completed four days on the M1 in February in Sepang and last week during the route briefing in the Algarve.

All of his outings were on the 2019 Yamaha, with his best lap on the Algarve test being about four seconds slower than Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia.

The MotoGP replacement rider rules state: “Teams must use all reasonable endeavors to provide a qualified replacement rider who fulfills their participation obligations within 10 days of the withdrawal.”

Since the 10 day period has not passed, Yamaha is under no obligation to provide a replacement, but it can reasonably argue that there is no qualified replacement.

Yamaha also stated that its decision was motivated by a desire not to put additional pressure on its reduced staff at events due to MotoGP’s COVID-19 protocols to “adapt a new rider” to the motorcycle.

As a result, Maverick Vinales – who will start the Aragon GP on Sunday from second place – will be the sole representative of the Yamaha factory team this coming weekend.

Rossi’s COVID-19 diagnosis comes two weeks after six members of Yamaha’s technical staff, including project leader Takahiro Sumi, were forced to self-isolate after one tested positive for the virus ahead of the French GP.

Tony Arbolino had to miss the Aragon Moto3 GP this weekend despite testing negative for COVID-19 from sitting on a plane close to someone who had the virus.

Arbolino and Rossi follow Moto2 front runner Jorge Martin in missing races due to COVID-19 after the Ajo KTM rider was pushed out of the Misano double headed ball after a positive test.