Valentino Rossi, arguably the most popular rider in MotoGP, has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Although the news no doubt comes as a surprise to some people, it’s not really a shock. Rossi rides for the Monster Energy Yamaha factory team; last week, six of the team’s engineers missed the French GP after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus.
Rossi’s diagnosis came on Thursday, October 15, after he woke up with symptoms of the disease. Here’s what he told his fans on social media:
“Unfortunately, this morning I woke up and I was not feeling good. My bones were score and I had a slight fever, so I immediately called the doctor who tested me twice. The ‘quick PCR test’ result was negative, just like the test I underwent on Tuesday. But the second one, of which the result was sent to me at 16:00 this afternoon, was unfortunately positive.
“I am so disappointed that I will have to miss the race at Aragon. 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. …”
It’s a tough break for Rossi. The nine-time world champion is already having a rough year; he crashed out of the French GP on the opening lap, and is currently sitting in 13th in the standings, with 58 points. Standings leader Fabio Quartararo has 115 points, and he’s on a satellite bike from Yamaha, while Rossi is on the factory team. He’s riding for the Petronas Yamaha SRT team in 2021, definitely a step down from the top squad.
Yamaha says it will not replace Rossi for the next race.