Nine-time grand prix motorcycle world champion Rossi will take Quartararo’s place at Petronas Yamaha next season, after a one-year deal with the Malaysian outfit and Yamaha was announced last weekend.
Yamaha moved to sign Quartararo amidst keen interest from Ducati on the 2019 rookie sensation, with Rossi’s original plans to assess his performances in the opening rounds before taking a decision on his future forcing him to be moved out of the works squad.
Quartararo’s deal with Yamaha to partner Maverick Vinales at the factory team runs through to 2022.
In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Quartararo says he was “pleased” back in January that Yamaha believed in him for its future – but feels “nobody can touch” Rossi’s “place”.
“I was quite surprised because we make the choice quite fast in the beginning of the year,” Quartararo said when asked if Yamaha signing him over Rossi was a boost to his confidence.
“Even the end of last year. But it was good. [I’m] really happy that Yamaha believes in me for the two next years in their team.
“So, will feel strange to have the bike of Vale – not the place – the bike.
“So, [I’m] really happy, but we need to keep focusing on this year to be in a position to face the grands prix.
“For me, I can’t…