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Grazie Vale! Every morning when I wake up I see the bike!

Valentino Rossi

Bengaluru, November 12: Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few days, you will be acutely aware that a certain Valentino Rossi is calling it a day. As the lights glow off on Sunday (November 14) at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, for the quarter of a century of history and memories, the only thing left to say is, Grazie Vale!

The legendary Italian will say his final goodbye to an adoring audience at Valencia on Sunday and naturally, he was the name on everybody's lips at the pre-event press conference on Thursday (November 11) evening.

The end of an era is nigh and ahead of the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship season-ending race in Valencia, Rossi himself sat down for a special farewell press conference before he bowed out.

Grazie Vale! Stage set for the last dance in ValenciaGrazie Vale! Stage set for the last dance in Valencia

Twenty six 26 seasons and one final Thursday sit down later, The Doctor, as he is affectionately known among his peers in the paddock, took the centrestage as most of the riders paid rich tributes to the MotoGP legend.

The 41-year-old spoke about retirement and the feeling of the bike as the MotoGP grid gets ready to bid farewell to one of the all-time greats of Grand Prix racing.

Great emotion

Great emotion

"It's a particular season especially in the second part after I said it's my last one. The last race is... I want to try and make it normal but it's not possible. It's a great emotion, and already from today to see all the bikes together, all the riders from MotoGP here all together is a great feeling.

We'll see! I'll try to give the maximum during the weekend, I hope we can have good weather, especially for Sunday, and we'll see!"

Title-winning bikes together

Title-winning bikes together

"I've the bikes at home except the Hondas, I've the Aprilias and Yamahas, the Yamahas are in my house. The 2004 model is in my bedroom. Every morning what I wake up I see the bike, but all together like this is a great emotion. It's a long long way if you look at the first one it's a really long time ago.

And if you consider that after the last one there was another ten years... it's a long time and a great emotion."

Strange feeling

Strange feeling

"From Austria when I said it, I had a lot of great messages and support from all the other riders, now, and from the past. All my rivals, this is very good. It was great. I always imagined this press conference, and here in Valencia... a special place and the opposite for me, a not special place at the same time.

It's strange, a strange feeling but I'll try to act normal because normally Valencia is a good moment for everyone, it means holidays start after a long season, and everyone is ready to stay at home a bit... but you always think that from Monday, it'll be different. Another life. I've tried to not think a lot in this way, because I'll also continue to race, with cars as a driver in this case. But I'll try to enjoy it because for sure life when you're not a MotoGP rider anymore will change."

Final fiesta

Final fiesta

The 2021 FIM MotoGP World Champions season closer returns to its traditional home in Valencia for the first time since 2019, and it promises to be as thrilling on the track as it will be emotional off of it.

The pre-event press conference began an emotional, history-making weekend at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo as Rossi is set for his final fiesta. Make sure you catch every second of it on Sunday at 2.30pm local time (5.30pm IST). Indian audience can catch all the action live on Eurosport SD/HD channels.

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Friday, November 12, 2021, 9:05 [IST]
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