MotoGP Breaking News: Valentino Rossi Announces his Retirement
The 42-year-old has announced that he will retire from racing in MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season!
The Italian rider who has been racing in the Grand Prix paddock since 1996 will no longer race in the paddock in the 2022 season. Valentino has taken part in twenty six seasons of Grand Prix racing, in these twenty-six seasons Rossi has taken part in four hundred and twenty eight races, the most races that a rider has ever entered!
In his four hundred and twenty-three races Rossi has managed to accumulate 6,330 points, the record amount of points scored. Valentino has stood on the podium 235 times throughout his Grand Prix career, the record for most podiums, with 115 of these podium appearances occurring from the top spot as he won the race, another record that Rossi holds. Valentino Rossi is also known for having nine World Championships, three for Honda (One in 500cc and two MotoGP), four for Yamaha (MotoGP), and two for Aprilia (125cc and 250cc).
Valentino became the most well-known Motorbike racer as he gained millions of fans due to his hard racing, charismatic personality and flamboyant celebrations. This popularity has transmitted into the present day as he has 10.7 million Instagram followers, which is only 500,000 followers less than the official MotoGP Instagram page.
Valentino, who became known as 'The Doctor', gained fame quickly in his career as he used his post-race celebrations to make his audience laugh. One of his most iconic celebrations came in the 250cc class, when he won the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. Valentino pulled over at the side of the track and entered the portaloo that was present on the side of the track all weekend long.
Valentino Rossi's Hard Racing:
Valentino Rossi has had many rivals across his 26 years of Grand Prix racing. He has had five main rivals across his years of racing, Rossi's main rivals in his opinion have been: Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernau, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
Rossi and Biaggi came to blows in Valentino's rookie season in the 500cc class in the 2000 season. Biaggi was the most popular Italian rider in the Grand Prix Paddock as he was known as 'The Roman Emperor', but when 'The Doctor' arrived on the scene with a bang, he quickly put pressure on Biaggi which lasted until Max departed Grand Prix racing in 2005. The two Italian giants came to blows on and off the track throughout their six-year rivalry, most notably on track at Suzuka in 2001 and off the track Rossi and Biaggi had a fight after the race in Catalunya in 2001. Valentino ultimately beat Biaggi across the six seasons as Rossi beat Biaggi every year that they raced against each other.
Rossi and Gibernau came to blows from 2003 to 2005, in this time Rossi moved from Honda to Yamaha. Over these three seasons Gibernau was Rossi's main rival to the title. Rossi once again beat Sete to the Championship in every season that they battled, this also included when Rossi switched from the dominant Honda to an average Yamaha. The two riders’ rivalry hit a peak in 2005 at Jerez when Rossi collided with Gibernau in his own back yard. Yet again another rivalry that Rossi has won.
Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi came up against eachother predominantly in 2007 and 2008. Over these two seasons Stoner beat Rossi to the title in 2007, but in 2008 Rossi got the upper hand and won the title back. In 2007 Stoner won the title for Ducati and dominated the Championship, with Valentino finishing third with Yamaha. In 2008 Casey finished 2nd in the Championship, whereas Rossi won the title back for Yamaha. The most prolific battle between Rossi and Stoner was in 2008 at Laguna Seca, when Stoner was meant to win, but Rossi was not having any of it. As he put in an amazing move at the corkscrew, that would be illegal now a days, which gave Rossi the lead again and he ultimately won the race.
Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had a very heated rivalry! They were 'teammates' but that was only a word for these two, they represented the same team, but they were certainly not mates. Rossi and Lorenzo came to loggerheads between 2009-2010 and then 2013-2016, this was when both riders represented Yamaha. In 2009 the experienced Italian rider beat the young Spaniard to the title, but 2010 was a different story, Rossi broke his leg and missed crucial rounds, which Lorenzo won, and he also won the 2010 title. In this time a wall was put up between the two riders garages. By the time 2013 arrived Rossi was back with Yamaha, and back with Lorenzo. Rossi finished 4th overall in his return and Lorenzo in 2nd. 2014 saw Valentino beat Lorenzo, as Rossi finished 2nd overall with Lorenzo behind in 3rd. 2015 saw Lorenzo beat Rossi to the title for the second time as Rossi finished 2nd place to his teammate, this caused a lot of anger between Rossi fans and Lorenzo fans as it was believed that Marquez helped Lorenzo to the title, taking 'The Doctors' 10th title from him. 2016 saw Rossi beat Lorenzo again as they finished 2nd and 3rd to eachother. This is one rivalry that I know will have caused Lin Jarvis, the Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, a massive headache as these two Championship contenders hated eachother, big time!
Marc Marquez vs Valentino Rossi! The best and worst rivalry that MotoGP has ever seen! Marc entered MotoGP as a fan of Valentino, however nowadays they are sworn enemies! 2013 Marc arrived on the MotoGP scene and Valentino Rossi returned to Yamaha, Marc won the championship and Rossi finished 4th, Marc beat Rossi by 97 points. When 2014 rolled round the fight between Marquez and Rossi arrived as Rossi challenged Marque to the title. The Championship ended with Rossi in 2nd and Marquez winning the title, the points difference this time around was 67. 2015 was the only season when Rossi ended up beating Marquez, Valentino was in 2nd and Marc in 3rd place, the points difference this time was 83. However, in 2015 the gloves came off, the two riders collided at Argentina which ended with Marquez in the dirt, Assen saw Marquez bump Rossi off the track at the last chicane however Valentino won the race as he stayed on and crossed the line, Silverstone saw the pair tussle in the wet until Marquez crashed out and Rossi won, Australia saw the pair and many other riders go toe to toe but there was no crash or collision this time and Marquez won, in Malaysia this race bought out the worst in the two, Rossi and Marc collided and to this day there has been a debate whether Rossi kicked Marquez to the floor, and finally at Valencia Marquez supposedly protected Lorenzo from Pedrosa so that Rossi would not win the 2015 World Championship! 2016 saw Marquez beat Rossi again as Rossi finished 2nd and Marquez won the title, the points difference was 49. In 2017 Marquez won the title as Rossi dropped to 5th, the points difference was 90. 2018 was a repeat as Marc won the title with Rossi in 3rd, the points gap was 123. Marquez has dominated Rossi in recent years as Valentino has gotten older and his results have dropped off. The pair nowadays seem like they get along in the media, but deep down there seems to still be some tension between the pair, a tension that will never pass.
The last thing I can say about Valentino is that he is an icon, a legend and in my opinion the greatest of all time! Personally, I have always been a Valentino Rossi fan, this is because I have grown up watching the Italian throughout my childhood. Today is a sad day for a lot of MotoGP fans, including myself. 'The Doctor' will be sorely missed on the MotoGP grid in the future, but sadly his time has come.
Thank you, Valentino, for all the amazing memories throughout your career!
"Salute the Master, Salute 'The Doctor', Salute Valentino Rossi!" Nick Harris.