After 25 years of Grand Prix (GP) racing, Valentino Rossi has announced that he will retire from the sport at the end of the 2021 MotoGP season.
“This will be the last season as a MotoGP rider,” said Rossi during a press conference earlier today at the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria. This is the same venue where Rossi took his first-ever GP podium in 1996.
“It’s difficult. It’s a very very sad moment because next year I will not race with [a] motorcycle,” added Rossi. “Next year, my life will change... anyway, it was great, I enjoyed it [racing] very much. It was a long, long journey. It was really, really fun.”
A tribute from a rival
Rossi, known as “The Doctor,” is loved by fans all over the world not only because of his skills on the racetrack but also due to his antics outisde of it.
Perhaps one of the most famous rivalries The Doctor had during his illustrious career was with fellow Italian, Max Biaggi. It was so bitter, that they almost came to blows when the two met at a restaurant at Suzuka, Japan.
But Biaggi had this to say about his former rival:
“Valentino and I have animated one of the most beautiful rivalries of motorcycling, without ever pretending to be friends. We were simply two bitter rivals, fighting to achieve the same goal. I believe this is why it was naturally impossible to be friends.”
“I want to wish a good life to a great opponent of mine with the thought that maybe someday we can find ourselves together smiling in memory of those moments,” said Biaggi to his former opponent.
Rossi: A legend
The name Valentino Rossi has become almost synonymous with MotoGP. During these 25 years of GP racing, The Doctor had achieved 9 world championships, 115 GP wins, and 235 podiums. He is also the only racer in history to win titles in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and premiere class (MotoGP) categories.
“I had a very long career and fortunately I won a lot of races, but I have some moments and victories that are unforgettable. Pure joy. Some things where I laughed for a week and after 10 days I'd still be laughing, wonder why and remember the race. It's difficult, yes. A difficult decision but you need to understand... I think in the end in sport, the results make the difference. So at the end I think it's the right way. It's difficult because I had the chance to race for my team in MotoGP, together with my brother, something that I would like. But it's ok like this I think... we have another half-season, I don't know how many races, I think it will be more difficult when we arrive at the last race, but for now it's just to say my decision to everyone. I can't complain about my career!”