Talks about Valentino Rossi’s retirement have been around for quite some time now. Although he is still in relatively good physical condition for his age, the younger and more aggressive MotoGP riders appear to be too much for The Doctor. In fact, in April of last year, Rossi talked about on the possibility of retiring at the end of 2021.
For this season, The Doctor is racing under Petronas SRT, and his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2021 racing season. While there is a provision for Rossi to keep his seat, part of it includes criteria that The Doctor has to meet. With only 15 points scored over the past 7 races, any contract renewal with the team is looking unlikely.
So what’s next for The Doctor? Sources say that he might still continue racing, but onboard cars.
Valentino Rossi driving the F1 while Lewis Hamilton riding the MotoGP-spec race bike
According to Autosport.com, the 9-time MotoGP champion expressed his desire to continue racing, possibly driving a Ferrari GT3 race car and compete at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race.
“Like I always said, when I finish with MotoGP, I want to race with the cars,” said Rossi. While Rossi built his career racing motorcycles, he is also no stranger when it comes to racing cars.
Back in 2002, Rossi raced in the World Rally Championship (WRC), and got 11th place in an event in 2006. He also raced in the Monza Rally, where he won the title in 2006, 2007, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Rossi also had a pretty successful stints in endurance racing, finishing 3rd in the Gulf 12-hours in Abu Dhabi and also 3rd in the Bahrain 12-hours in 2021.
“I have experience racing the GT3, which is an interesting category because it has a lot of different factory cars, important – from Ferrari to Porsche, from Bentley to Aston Martin. So, I think I will race with that type of car when I stop racing in MotoGP. But I don’t know in which championship sincerely,” added Rossi.
This pretty much explains why The Doctor impressed 7-time F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton when the two switched their rides in an outing in December 2019.