It would probably be fair to describe the Petronas Yamaha SRT team's 2021 season as disappointing. After an exceptional year in 2020, they started 2021 with high hopes. Franco Morbidelli had finished 2020 as runner up to Joan Mir in the championship, and between them, Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo had won six races.
For 2021, Morbidelli was joined by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, now back and fully fit after a period off with Covid-19. But their expectations were dashed in what would turn out to be a bizarre and unpredictable year. They managed just a single podium from Franco Morbidelli at Jerez, finished second to last in the team standings, lost their title sponsor at the end of the year, and then the team was disbanded and reformed as RNF Racing for 2022.
Nothing quite encapsulates how strange 2021 was for the Petronas Yamaha SRT team like the parade of riders which veteran Catalan crew chief Ramon Forcada had to work with through the season. He started at Qatar with Franco Morbidelli, who started to struggle after a training crash in which he damaged the ligaments in his knee before Le Mans. Morbidelli kept going with a very painful and weak knee through the Sachsenring race.