Bengaluru, May 27: The fluorescent yellow Yamaha bike will no longer glow again on the grid as this weekend, at the Italian GP, the iconic No.46 will be retired from the world of MotoGP to honour the legendary Valentino Rossi.
The seven-time champion in premier class, who was inducted as a MotoGP legend recently, was known in the paddcok circles and all around the world for some of the scarcely believable moments he produced on and off track across 26 seasons of Grand Prix racing.
The honour is being bestowed upon the 43-year-old at Mugello on the race-day eve and is set to see a huge turnout.
It may be recalled that the Italian great had hung up his racing leathers at the end of 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship season, having celebrated 115 wins and 235 podiums in a racing career that spanned two-and-a-half decades.
Now, at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, the rider's iconic No.46 will also be retired.
The No.46 has not been used in the 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship season, having been left vacant by Rossi, but the competition has moved to ensure it will not be taken in future either.
"The number 46 will be retired from use in the MotoGP class at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello," a statement from Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of of MotoGP said.
"Synonymous with MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, the number will be signed off in style at the upcoming Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.
"The retirement ceremony will take place on the main straight on Saturday, just ahead of qualifying.
"Rossi will be in attendance as his legacy is honoured and number retired, having raced the number 46 into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame over 26 seasons of success - creating one of the most recognisable calling cards in global sport."
The Doctor, as he was fondly known among peers in the paddock circles and on the MotoGP grid, had played a key role in redefining the sport for millions of fans across the world.
His iconic No.46 will now join him as a spectator, enjoying the world's fastest motorcycle racing championship.
So make sure to tune in for the Italian GP as Rossi returns to Mugello for a Saturday spectacular with a difference.
There is still plenty to say as the 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship heads for Tuscany and the rolling hills of the Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley, so let us say it.
The pre-event press conference saw 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) joined by second on points Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) fresh from a contract renewal, Le Mans winner and home hero Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Ducati Lenovo Team's Jack Miller and team-mate Francesco Bagnaia to talk about the weekend ahead.
Fans are back, the legend awaits and there is nothing quite like Mugello, so make sure to tune in on Sunday at 2pm local time (5.30pm IST) for a date with a difference!
Indian audience can catch all the action live on Eurosport channel.
(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)