Debutant Gerloff on stand-by with Rossi still Covid-19 positive

Paris (AFP) –


Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi remains a doubt for this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia after contracting coronavirus, his Yahama team said on Wednesday.

Rossi, 41, who has featured in just five of the season's 11 Grand Prixs to date, will be replaced by American Garrett Gerloff if he fails to return two negative tests, 48 hours apart, ahead of the race.

"Today the Italian will undergo a new test," Yamaha said Wednesday. "Should he test negative, he will still have enough time to complete the required second PCR test and fly to Valencia.

"Should Rossi be deemed 'unfit' to ride in Valencia, Gerloff will be backed by the number-46 rider's usual crew for his very first riding experience aboard a YZR-M1," the factory team added.

Rossi last raced at the French Grand Prix on October after testing positive following the Le Mans event.

"Luckily I still have two more chances to be back on track on Friday or Saturday. I am very sad because I am feeling well, and I can't wait to be back aboard my M1 and be reunited with my team," Rossi said in statement.

"I really hope the next PCR test result will be negative, because missing two races was already two too many," he added.

Gerloff, 25, could make his MotoGP bow in Spain before the term culminates with the Valencian GP at the same venue on November 15 and the Portuguese GP a week later in Portimao.