Valentino Rossi will miss this weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix and likely next week’s Teruel GP after testing positive for COVID-19, becoming the first MotoGP rider to do so.
MotoGP has been operating tight restrictions to quell the spread of COVID-19, though it has recorded several cases from paddock members – including Moto2 rider Jorge Martin, who had to miss last month’s Misano double-header after catching the illness.
Rossi confirmed on his Instagram feed that he woke up feeling unwell at Aragon and underwent a test for COVID-19, which came back negative.
However, a second test produced a positive result and he will now miss this weekend’s Aragon GP and likely the second Aragon event next week.
He has been self-isolating since his arrival to Aragon and expressed his disappointment having done “my best to respect the protocol”.
“Unfortunately this morning I woke up and I was not feeling good,” Rossi posted on social media.
“My bones were sore 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 4pm 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.
“Anyway, this is the way it is and I can’t do anything to change the situation.
“I will now follow the medical advice and I just hope I will be feeling well soon.”
This comes a week after six members of Yamaha tested positive for the virus and were forced to remain in Andorra.
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis added: “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.
“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 minimise the chance for any future issues.”
Yamaha has made no mention of fielding a stand-in yet, though this could open the door for test rider Jorge Lorenzo to make a shock MotoGP return this season.
Lorenzo was due to make a wildcard appearance at the Catalan GP before the original calendar was scrapped owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-time world champion rode the 2019 M1 at Algarve last week, though hasn’t had any time on the 2020 Yamaha this year and has only completed four days on a MotoGP bike since February.