It's the middle of the 2021 MotoGP championship season summer break where a lot of folks have been anticipating the official announcement from Valentino Rossi to either continue his racing career or retire to run his own MotoGP team in 2022. That announcement seems to have been pushed to a later date, and we will only find out most of the puzzle pieces for the Petronas SRT squad after both of the upcoming Austrian rounds.
Their MotoGP riders have been going through quite a tough season. Both Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli have been struggling to keep up with the front runners, and it's most likely that a major shift will happen for the 2022 championship season. Starting with Rossi, there are three possibilities; to continue with Petronas Yamaha SRT, retire from racing, or continue with his Ducati-powered VR46 MotoGP squad (no second rider announced yet).
As for Franco Morbidelli, he might just move up to the factory squad according to a few rumours going around. The clock is ticking for the Petronas Yamaha SRT as looking for suitable premier class rider replacements gets harder and harder as we head towards the second half of the season.
There's also a strong rumour that the entire Petronas SRT line-up for 2022 will be completely revamped, including their riders in Moto2 and Moto3. Starting with Moto3, it'll be John McPhee's final year in the 250cc class due to the age limit, and he'll most likely jump to Moto2, but no word on whether he'll stick with Petronas SRT.
Darryn Binder has had a stellar Moto3 season so far, which gives him a good chance to get one of the two seats in the Petronas SRT's Moto2 category. Their replacements are still relatively unknown for now, but there's word that SIC Racing's Syarifuddin Azman aka "Damok" might move up to Moto3 in 2022. He's currently competing in the CEV Repsol in Spain, where he won a race in Catalunya last month.
Adam Norrodin is also in the picture considering his impressive Moto2 performance in the CEV Repsol series so far, but he'll most likely stay for a couple more years as the series heads into Triumph-powered territory in 2022. If he does well next year, there's no denying his place in Moto2 come 2023. But then again, he might just jump the gun if conditions are in his favour, eh?
The current Moto2 riders, Xavi Vierge and Jake Dixon, might be making their own moves as well. Out of the two, Vierge has a pretty good chance to move up to MotoGP compared to Dixon who's quite a decent rider, but has shown a lot of inconsistencies in this year's Moto2 season.
The Petronas SRT squad is looking at all the best options and by the time both Austrian rounds are done, they'll most likely throw down their cards to show what they'll have for 2022. It's been a silly season and will get even sillier in the coming months. Stay tuned for more updates.