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Grazie Vale! MotoGP great Valentino Rossi announces retirement

Valentino Rossi

Bengaluru, August 6: The fluorescent yellow No 46 bike will no longer shine on the MotoGP grid from next season as MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has decided to call time on his career.

At a special press conference ahead of the Grand Prix of Styria as the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship resumes after the summer break, The Doctor as he is fondly known among his peers in the paddock, officially announced his decision to retire from Grand Prix motorcycle racing at the end of 2021 season.

Over a career spanning more than a quarter of a century, the Italian has carved out a niche that will be hard to match or surpass, either on-track or off.

Nine World Championships, 115 wins and 235 podiums, and being the only competitor in history to win titles in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP categories, mean Rossi's name will forever feature in the history books.

But his unique brand of charisma, speed, race craft and world domination - plus a dash of rock and roll - have made the the current Petronas Yamaha SRT man something more than a rider.

Sporting icon

Sporting icon

At the venue that saw Rossi take his first podium back in 1996, he announced that 2021 will be his 26th and final season in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

But the VR46 name will remain a key presence in the paddock, adding a premier class team next season, and the man himself will forever remain that which very few can claim: a motorcycling and sporting icon.

Falling down pecking order

Falling down pecking order

After falling down the pecking order at Yamaha this season, Rossi, who has achieved 115 Grand Prix victories and 235 podiums in 414 starts, decided to continue his career with Petronas, though only managed to collect 17 points from the first nine races in the 2021 campaign.

Ahead of the summer break, the Italian was expected to announce his future plans and he did so during Thursday's (August 5) exceptional press conference.

Difficult decision

Difficult decision

"It's a very sad moment. It's difficult to know that next year I'll not race with a motorcycle," said Rossi in an emotional press conference.

"It was a long journey that I enjoyed very much. Next year, my life will change. It's a difficult decision but in the end in all sports it's results that make the difference, so I think it's the right decision. I can't complain about my career," the 42-year-old added.

Grazie Vale

Grazie Vale

Rossi may retire, but his legend will live on. The MotoGP and his legion of fans will miss him nonetheless, the Italian still very much a sentimental favourite!.

For the quarter of a century of history and memories, the only thing left to say is, Grazie Vale!

(With inputs from Dorna Sports Media)

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Story first published: Thursday, August 5, 2021, 21:45 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 5, 2021