Rossi likely to consider MotoGP future after 'six, seven races' - Salucci

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Valentino Rossi is likely to consider his future in MotoGP "six, seven races" into 2021, according to his right-hand man Uccio Salucci.

The Italian motorcycling legend enters his 22nd season in the premier class this year, joining Petronas Yamaha SRT albeit still as a factory rider for the Japnese manufacturer.

However, with Rossi turning 42 on Tuesday, each year now comes with speculation as to whether it will be his last in MotoGP.

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And after a difficult 2020, which saw 'The Doctor' suffer his worst championship finish ever in 15th with one just podium to his name, Salucci admits motivation will be a key factor.

“It will depend a lot on the races, after six, seven GPs we will see if he is having fun and how much he will be competitive," he told Sky Italia this week.

“At that point, we will make a choice.”

That timeline would currently put a decision in June, either after Rossi's home race at Mugello or in Barcelona based on the planned schedule.

This also comes as Valentino's Sky Racing VR46 racing team is being linked to join the MotoGP grid next year, with Luca Marini's Esponsorama Racing bike set to run VR46 branding in 2021.

“Our guys have grown faster than expected, the time has come to think [about] making a team in MotoGP,” Salucci, who is the sporting director of Rossi's rider academy, added.

“The road is long, the step to take is also important from an economic point of view – we are facing fundamental months."

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If Sky VR46 did take over Esponsorama Racing, as suggested, it would create an interesting dilemma given Rossi has been with Yamaha for 16 seasons, including 2021, but the team currently uses Ducati machinery.

“We don’t know which bike we will go to MotoGP with, [but] for sure we all know that our heart is with Yamaha," Salucci concluded.