It is the end of an era in modern two-wheel motorsports as Valentino Rossi announced his retirement from MotoGP at the end of 2021. Currently riding for Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team after a lackluster 2020 MotoGP that saw Rossi’s race performance fall behind rising stars such as Fabio Quartararo, Joan Mir and Miguel Oliveira, the Italian racer felt the time had come to draw things to a close.
While Rossi’s plans for the coming year are yet to be decided, he did announce an intention to go four-wheel racing, possibly in the GT class. Rossi’s own motorcycle race team, Team VR46, has also recently inked a deal with Saudi oil company Aramco and MotoGP organisers Dorna for a team in the MotoGP class, racing Ducati Desmosedicis.
Rossi’s 25-year Grand Prix career spans the era of four-cylinder two-strokes, winning the last ever 500 cc World Championship, and his first, in 2001 before racing transitioned to four-strokes. Rossi then made it five championships in a row, first with Honda, then moving to Yamaha where he won a further two championships in 2008 and 2009 after finishing second and third in the interceding years.
“After five championship in a row for MotoGP I lose for two years. Usually in a normal career is over. But changing tyres I was able to come back at the top and fight with Lorenzo and Stoner and Pedrosa and win another two championship,” said Rossi, talking about highlights in his racing career.
A severe drop in form followed in 2019 despite finishing in the top seven in the championship standings from 2010, with Rossi moving the SRT and then announcing he would make a decision on his MotoGP career during the summer break. Rossi will see out the rest of the season with SRT before focusing on Aramco Racing Team VR46 while saying, about going four wheel racing, “nothing is decided yet, we are still talking, but sincerely, my desire to race is there.”
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