Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has officially announced his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season.
While holding a special press conference ahead of the Grand Prix of Styria on August 5, Rossi broke the news of his planned retirement to the public.
Despite there being rumours of him possibly racing for his own VR46 Ducati team next season, there were indications that he could retire at the end of this season after a disappointing start to 2021.
During the press conference, the 42-year-old Italian said that "it’s a very sad moment", and that "It’s difficult to say and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle".
He will be focusing on his own MotoGP team next season, and he aims to bring his experience in the motorsport to assist them, as well as helping out his brother Luca Marini in the sport.
Rossi made his debut back in 1996, and he has won nine titles, and while his last one was in 2009, he has remained a very prominent figure in the motorsport, being seen as one of the most iconic people in global sport.
Speaking on Rossi's retirement, Yamaha Racing, who partnered with him for 16 years of his career, thanked him for "their unforgettable shared MotoGP journey", and that they "plan to maintain a close working relationship with the Italian after 2021 through various collaborations including the VR46 Riders Academy and the ‘Yamaha VR46 Master Camp’ training and racing programmes".
Rossi moved from Yamaha’s factory team to satellite team Petronas Yamaha SRT for the 2021 season.
The Italian remains the only rider in history to have started 400 or more races, getting 115 victories, 89 of which came in MotoGP.
Speaking about his career, Rossi said “It was great, I’ve enjoyed it very much, it’s been a long, long journey and it was really fun”.
While he has struggled this season, with the highest place that he has finished in nine races being tenth, his legacy will carry on, with him being one of the greatest figures in motorsport.
Across his 26-year career, Rossi has had a massive influence on MotoGP, with him becoming a fan favourite and also managed to break the barrier and bring the motorsport to the spotlight during the early 2000s, with fans flocking in huge numbers to see the motorcycle legend showcase his prowess on the track.
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