Valentino Rossi made his final farewell on Sunday at the Ricardo Torno circuit in Valencia, Spain, after having an extraordinary career that made him one of the most iconic motorcycle racers in history.
The Italian received a standing ovation from the fans after a 26-year career, with 432 Grand Prix starts, 115 wins, 235 podiums and 65 poles across all three classes of the world championship.
Valentino Rossi, who is regarded as one of the sport’s most charismatic personalities definitely made history. Riding his way through several championships and marking his name in the MotoGP history books as one of the best racers to ever take part in the sport, is a great feat.
“It’s a sad moment, it’s difficult because it’s the end of my career, but on the other side I’m very happy, I always enjoy a lot, and it’s a long, long time, a long career, with a lot of great results, so it was a good journey,” Rossi told CNN Sport ahead of the race.
“Riding motorcycles and racing in MotoGP is always my first passion, from when I was a child. If I think of this moment, two or three years ago, I was desperate, but now I’m ready, it’s the time. It’s enough.”
The 42-year-old said he had to persuade his family and friends that it was time for him to stop riding. “It was difficult, especially with my mother, my father and my close friends, to say to them I would stop at the end of the season, because everybody said, ‘No, you have to continue. You have to continue,’ but I was ready, and I convinced them.”
Rossi conceded that finally relinquishing his dream of a 10th world title rankled just a little. “It’s shame because 10 is a great number, it’s like that you close a circle, and I was a lot of times very close to the 10th one, and I think I deserved the 10th one for my speed and for my career, but unfortunately it’s like this, but I cannot complain with nine championships.”
Rossi, who won the premier-class World Championships with both Honda and Yamaha was nicknamed The Doctor and widely considered to be one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name – seven of which were in the premier 500cc/MotoGP class.
Valentino Rossi finally hung up his helmet after a 26-year career, with 432 Grand Prix starts
“2015 was a very bad moment, maybe the worst moment of my career,” he told CNN. “All the season I had a great fight with Jorge Lorenzo, who was my teammate in Yamaha, and at the end, unfortunately, another rider decided that I don’t have to win the championship, so Marc Márquez decided that I don’t have to become world champion, for the 10th time.”
Márquez has always denied that he had any intention of scuppering Rossi’s title bid, but the Italian remains unconvinced, and hatchets remain unburied.
“From that moment, it was not the same. For me, it changed a lot the feeling that I have with MotoGP, and also it was very bad for MotoGP because it was not able to manage this situation, and from that moment we don’t have any relationship,” Rossi continued. Asked by CNN if he had a message for the Catalan, he roared with laughter. “No,” he answered flatly, “I don’t have a message.”
He is also the only road racer to have competed in 400 or more Grands Prix and rode with the number 46 for his entire career. He had previously requested that the race number continues to be used in upcoming seasons, and not retired.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.