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Valentino Rossi announces his retirement in MotoGP at the end of the current season. At the age of 42, the Greatest Rider Of All time (GOAT) has decided to hang his leathers and retire the name Doctor and the 46 number from the premier-class racing.
Rossi is the only rider in the grid who had raced at the time of two-stroke motorcycles. Now the only link between the two-stroke and four-stroke era will be leaving at the end of the current season.
He is also the only rider in the current grid to have shared the paddock space with Mick Doohan and Kenny Roberts, Jr. during his early 125cc racing days. Over the years we have been at the edge of the seat looking at The Doctor pulling some amazing moves to get to those glorious victories.
However, in the last two seasons, the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider has been struggling with the setup of the bike. As a result, Rossi won his last race in the year 2017, when he was racing for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP factory racing team.
Speaking about the retirement Valentino Rossi said, "I said I would decide for next year after the summer break, and I decided to stop at the end of the season. Unfortunately, this will be my last half-season as a MotoGP rider. And it's difficult, it's a very sad moment because it's difficult to say it and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle, I've done that for I think more or less 30 years!
Next year, my life will change. But it was great, I've enjoyed it very much, it's been a long, long journey and it was fun. It's 25, 26 years in the World Championship, so it was great. And I had unforgettable moments with all my guys, the guys who work for me, so... I don't have a lot to say! Just this."
He further added, "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 in the end, I think it's the right way."
Valentino Rossi has been associated with Yamaha more than any other MotoGP rider with a team. Rossi is the most successful Yamaha rider in history with 56 wins, 46 second-place finishes, 40 third-place finishes on a Yamaha, scored in 264 races so far.
Speaking about Rossi's retirement, Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing, said, "First of all, I would like to thank Valentino sincerely, on behalf of Yamaha Motor Racing, for the special partnership between him and Yamaha. We were privileged to be key players in a legendary Grand Prix era, with Valentino fortifying Yamaha‘s rider line-up for 16 - still ongoing - seasons. The now-iconic partnership between Yamaha and Rossi started almost like a fairy tale.
Rossi won that incredible race at Welkom in 2004, his first GP with Yamaha. His arrival at Yamaha was the catalyst that completely changed our MotoGP racing programme, and he gave us the confidence to regain our challenging spirit and once again become MotoGP World Champions."
He further added, "His unparalleled skills and warm charisma will be greatly missed by the fans, the media, the MotoGP paddock, and the entire Yamaha staff. So let us all enjoy the next GPs and then we‘ll get the chance to say a proper thank you to Valentino at the end of the Valencia GP weekend in November."
A Brief History
In his illustrious career, Valentino Rossi has raced for Aprilia, Honda, Ducati and Yamaha. The Doctors has picked the battle on track with some of the legendary riders like himself. In 1996 Rossi started his career on the saddle of a 125cc Aprilia motorcycle. After his rookie season, Rossi went on to become the world champion in 125cc in 1997 with 11 wins.
Aprilia promoted the Italian rider to the 250cc category in 1998. Rossi was outclassed by his early rival Loris Capirossi, who took the championship for that year. In 1999, the Italian came back stronger and became the 250cc champion by taking 9 race wins.
Eventually, with 2 championships under the belt and the legendary Mick Doohan getting retired, Rossi was given a seat in Honda to race in the 500cc category, which was the highest category then. The first season saw him racing close against another legendary rider Kenny Robets Jr. Rossi has to settle for 2nd place in the championship behind Kenny in 2000.
What came next was the most glorious years of Rossi's racing career, which put him on the map as a sporting icon. He won five championships in a row from 2001 to 2005 with Nastro Azzurro Honda, Repsol Honda Team, Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha and Gauloises Yamaha Team.
In the debut year of the MotoGP World Championship in 2002, Rossi carried on his form and increased the winning margin to 140 points, with one of the main rivals in his racing career Max Biaggi coming second.
In the year 2003 Rossi gave Honda his final title before the switch to Yamaha in 2004, where he went on to claim another two championships. He was finally dethroned by Nicky Hayden in 2006, who won the championship on a Honda motorcycle.
In 2008 and 2009, Rossi won his final two championships riding for the Fiat Yamaha Team where he outclassed Casey Stoner and the young Jorge Lorenzo, respectively.
In 2011 and 2012, Rossi raced for factory Ducati Team where he just won three podiums over two seasons. After two years of struggle, Rossi decided to head back to Yamaha and took his first victory in Assen in three years.
Rossi was seeking to get the 10th championship but ended as the runner-up in the championship for the years 2014 2015 and 2016. The last win from The Doctor came in 2017 at the Dutch GP in Assen.
The last time we saw Rossi on the podium was in 2020 when he secured third place in Jerez at the beginning of the season. 2021 will be the last season for the legendary rider as he races for the Petronas SRT Yamaha satellite team.
Next year, the number 46 will return to the paddock as a MotoGP racing team with two Ducati motorcycles on the grid ridden by his brother Luca Marini and another rider who is yet to be decided by the Sky Racing VR 46 team.
Valentino Rossi's Records, Wins & Race Statistics
- Years Racing: 26
- Race Starts: 414
- Race Wins: 115
- Podium Finishes: 235
- Points: 6,313
- Championship Wins (125cc): 1
- Championship Wins (250cc): 1
- Championship Wins (500cc): 1
- Championship Wins (MotoGP): 6
- Total Championship Wins: 9
Thoughts About Valentino Rossi's Retirement From MotoGP
More than a rider who has given us edge of the seat action for years, Valentino Rossi is a household name for MotoGP. MotoGP racing has gained popularity over the year because of Rossi and has reached many parts of the world. Thank you for entertaining us on the track, now it's time for the 46 number to shine on the Ducati motorcycle that will be lined up on the grid next year. Ciao Rossi!