MotoGP was handed a fresh blow by the news Italian superstar Valentino Rossi tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, meaning he will miss this weekend’s grand prix in Aragon, Spain.
Rossi confirmed via his Instagram page early on Thursday evening that he had two medical tests on the eve of the eleventh round of the season after “not feeling good” upon waking up. “My bones were sore and I had a slight fever,” he wrote.
He took two tests on Thursday. The first came back negative (as did his routine test, taken on the Tuesday of this week). “But the second one, of which the result was sent to me at 16:00 this afternoon, was unfortunately positive,” he wrote.
While the result definitely excludes him from competing this weekend, there is a chance he could recover in time for next week’s Teruel Grand Prix, also to be held at the Aragon circuit. But knowing the nature of the virus, the nine-time world champion isn’t sounding optimistic.
“I am so disappointed that I will have to miss the race at Aragon,” he wrote. “I’d like to be optimistic and confident, but I expect the second round in Aragon to be a ‘no go’ for me as well. I am sad and angry because I did my best to respect the protocol and although the test I had on Tuesday was negative, I self-isolated since my arrival from Le Mans.”
An official statement released by the Monster Energy Yamaha team explained that Rossi returned to his home in Tavullia, Italy on Sunday following his early crash out of the French Grand Prix. He was tested on Tuesday, as is routine, and was training as normal on Wednesday and feeling “fully fit.”
His team was keen to stress “During Rossi‘s stay at his home from Sunday night (11th October) to today (15th October), he has NOT been in contact with any person that is currently present at the Gran Premio de Aragón, including VR46 Academy riders, VR46 staff, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team members, etc.” The Italian has not traveled to Spain.
The 41-year old is the second rider in the three grand prix classes to test positive for the virus, after Jorge Martin missed the Misano doubleheader due to two positive tests.
This is also the second Covid-19 scare for Yamaha, who faced last weekend’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans without MotoGP project leader Takahiro Sumi and five other engineers after one positive test in their group. All six were placed in isolation in Andorra.
“This is very bad news for Valentino and very bad news for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team and for all MotoGP fans around the world,” said Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis. “First and foremost we hope Valentino will not suffer too much in the coming days and will recover fully in the shortest time possible.
“It comes as a second blow for our MotoGP operations having faced the absence of Project Leader Sumi-san and five YMC engineers at the Le Mans race after one member tested positive – despite being fortunately totally asymptomatic
“These two incidents remind us that no matter how careful you are, the risk is always present – as we see with the rising numbers of infections in Europe at this time.
“We have checked with the Italian health authorities and we have been advised that any member of our team that was in contact with Valentino up until Monday is excluded from direct risk. Nevertheless, we will be even more attentive from now on to minimize the chance for any future issues.”
On the back of three straight crashes, Rossi was already out of the title fight coming to Aragon. He sits 13th in the world championship, 57 points back of current leader Fabio Quartararo.
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