Valentino Rossi, The Doctor, The GOAT, the most successful MotoGP rider in recent history, second only to the great Giacomo Agostini, has just announced his retirement from MotoGP racing. Just this morning, he called the world’s press to attention when he announced he’d made a decision regarding his future as a MotoGP rider.
We all held our breath as we wondered what he was going to announce at 2:15pm (UK time). Some speculated it would be to announce that he’d signed a contract with himself. A contract to race for his own Aramco Racing Team VR46 team in 2022; after all it’s no secret that the team sponsors were desperate to see Vale on the bike.
But no, after 26 years in the MotoGP paddock, 21 of them in the premier class, he’s had enough. And the announcement has come after a difficult year. A difficult year that doesn’t show any signs of improving. Valentino Rossi has scored a grand total of 17 points so far in 2021, and we’ve had nine rounds.
He’ll be back
But fear not. This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Valentino Rossi. You can bet your bottom dollar that now he’ll keep giving it 100% as a rider for the rest of the 2021 season, and beyond that, giving it 100% as a team manager, crew chief, motivational speaker, or whatever he chooses to do with himself.
I know it’s not going to be the same, watching MotoGP without the larger than life, nine-time world champ on the grid. And I’m sure there will be some that’ll call for the 5th August 2021 to be remembered as a day of mourning. But I don’t think anyone is really enjoying seeing him scrap around at the back of the field for the final couple of points, so maybe the time has come.
He’s 42 years old, done more for the sport than anyone has in it’s history, made more money from it than anyone has in it’s history, and united fans, the world over. So I think we can forgive him for deciding to hang his leathers up. And let’s be fair, perhaps MotoGP’s loss will be Formula 1’s gain? Or the World Rally Championship. Because anyone that’s been following the Italian legend’s career will know he’s got what it takes to to compete on four wheels, on the world stage too. Who knows…
I’ve always been a massive fan of Valentino Rossi, and I always will be. He’s made MotoGP what it is today, and it’s incredible. Thanks, Vale, for making MotoGP so special for so long. You’ll be missed.