Valentino Rossi retires: goodbye to the blessed evil of world motorcycling

Valentino Rossi, with a photo of his early days

Valentino Rossi, with a photo of his early days
Valentino Rossi, with a photo of his early days
AFP7 via Europa Press

MotoGP enter a new era: Valentino Rossi has announced his retirement after 25 years in the World Cup. The Doctor announced his decision at a press conference in the run-up to Styrian GP held this weekend, after several months haunting the idea of ​​continuing or not.

“I said I would make my decision after the summer and I have decided to stop after this season. This will be the last second part of the season that I will play “, he announced.” It is difficult to say that next year I will not be competing, doing what I have been doing for 25 or 30 years, “he admitted, excited.

The lack of competitiveness that he has shown with the Petronas Yamaha SRT It was the final reason why, at 42, Rossi decided to hang up his jumpsuit and helmet. He has not been in a position to battle for victories for a long time (the last of the 115 he has achieved was in 2017), and age has weighed more and more. His departure from the official Yamaha team to make room for Fabio Quartararo He had shown him that the Japanese brand was already inviting him to consider his departure.

There were several possibilities on the table, but the way the press conference was announced raised the fear of the inevitable. Between staying with the Petronas Yamaha SRT, competing with his own team, or retiring, the latter was the most likely.

Pedro Acosta, on the podium of the Moto3 Spanish GP

Rossi wants to sign Pedro Acosta with the aim of making him his first MotoGP champion

That he leaves MotoGP as a rider does not imply that he will be out of the paddock, far from it. After successfully managing the Sky VR46 since 2014 in the Moto3 and Moto2 categories with KTM and Kalex mounts, in 2022 will make the leap to MotoGP with Ducati as supplier. That will be the next chapter in a legendary career. “As of January my life will be totally different”, he pointed out, and even admitted that he himself could have been one of the pilots of that Aramco VR46 team. “I could have run with my brother (Luca Marini), but I have decided to quit,” he said.

Nine worlds and legendary rivalries

Valentino Rossi has been an angel and a devil throughout his World Cup career, which started there in nineteen ninety six. His aggressiveness on the track, very typical of the Italian school, earned him the reputation of being a too dirty rider with his rivals, both in 125cc and 250cc as later in 500 / MotoGP.

Throwing the bike where no one dared and well above what safety recommended, showing aggressiveness bordering on recklessness and riding without any complexes earned him numerous enmity. With Max biaggi He had them of all colors, including public fights and some private slap. With the spanish Sete Gibernau, Jorge Lorenzo Y Marc Márquez, especially with the latter two, he won the role of public enemy number 1 among a good part (but not all) of the national fans.

Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo refreshes himself after the Malaysian GP.

Lorenzo: “We have all lost respect for Rossi, if it were someone else the sanction would be more serious”

Struggles with Lawrence on the stage together at Yamaha or especially the incidents in 2015 with the famous kick to Márquez (which caused an unprecedented crisis) slightly changed the perception towards a rider who, however, has always enjoyed the sympathy and respect of the vast majority of the biker family. Starting with the legendary Angel Nieto, whom Rossi considered not only a reference, but also a friend. Your son Pablo Nieto he is, in fact, the director of the SkyVR46.

His charisma, sense of humor, self-confidence on and off the track have made him a much loved driver, even off motorcycles: he was around Formula 1 to join Ferrari and he has made his first steps in the World Rally Championship.

Beyond controversy, Rossi’s numbers speak for themselves: nine world championships (one of 125cc, one of 250cc, one of 500cc and six of MotoGP), 115 wins, 235 podiums, 65 pole positions, 96 fastest laps

For the first time in 26 years, the 2022 grid will not have Valentino Rossi among its components. With its lights and shadows, the legend of the ‘Doctor’ will last forever. Those who come after, who equal if they can.

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