Friday, August 6th, 2021
Valentino Rossi says ciao
The “god of motorcycles” gives up
MotoGP is losing an icon and its defining figure: Valentino Rossi ends his incomparable career. Nine races to go, then it’s over. Companions bow to the Italian in rows – and remember his bizarre gags and scandals.
The cameras kept clicking and Valentino Rossi smiled. “It’s a sad day. Next year my life will change,” said the Italian superstar in Spielberg calmly, “I’ve decided to quit at the end of the season.” What threatened is reality: MotoGP is losing an icon, the most dazzling figure, its face. After 26 years, “Doctor” Rossi gets off the machine for the last time in November.
It’s no surprise the nine-time world champion is giving up what he loves more than anything. Racing on his Yamaha M1, but there is no point anymore, the Young Guns have been around the 42-year-old for a long time. “In the end, the results make all the difference in sport,” said Rossi at a specially convened press conference.
The decision was made during the summer break. With 17 points, the “Peter Pan of Motorsport” (“Tuttosport”) is 19 in the World Championship. in the second half of the year. Out of the question for Rossi, who won the last victory in Assen / Netherlands in 2017. There will be no more.
Slapped in the face at the awards ceremony
His companions bowed to the man who shaped the scene like no other. “He’s the god of motorcycles,” said the Spaniard Maverick Vinales, “he’s a legend, he’s still my idol,” wrote Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP leader from France, on Twitter. Rossi’s former team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, with whom he was often at odds, even raised him to one of the greats. “Valentino is on par with Jordan, Woods, Ali or Senna,” the Spaniard posted.
Rossi entered the World Cup in 1996 on an Aprilia, as a curly-haired head with a mischievous grin, which he has kept to this day. Rossi has charisma like very few, he is the perfect ambassador for MotoGP, more than an athlete. Marc Marquez may be just as successful, but the eight-time champion from Spain cannot follow in his footsteps.
Vale, as he is called in the paddock, has left deep marks. The victory celebrations are unforgettable when he pulled a doctor’s coat over his racing suit and listened to the motorcycle with a stethoscope. Or was flashed and stopped by team members disguised as carabinieri. His long-term feud with Max Biaggi, whom he hit in the face on the way to the award ceremony, will also be remembered.
TV team on the chicken farm
There are other anecdotes. In 1998 Rossi invented the sponsor “Polleria Osvaldo”, invited a TV team to a chicken farm, where an elderly gentleman from his hometown Tavullia gave the farmers. A gag, typically Rossi, he likes to laugh and often.
Rossi is a born entertainer – and a businessman. He sells fan articles under the label VR46 – also from other drivers. From 2022 he will have his own MotoGP team in addition to a Moto2 team. In his academy he promotes the next generation, who among other things train on his ranch. “I would like to continue racing, not a year, but 20, but unfortunately life is the way it is,” said Rossi, but looked back with satisfaction: “I entertained people quite well on Sunday afternoon.”