Valentino Rossi, King of the Track has retired.
432 Grand Prix starts, 235 podiums, 115 race wins and 9 world titles. Valentino Rossi, arguably the greatest motorbike racer of all time and living legend, has retired.
The only rider to win World Championships in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP (5 times no less!), Rossi has defined an entire generation of motorsport riding and set the scene for a successful inheritance.
As the son of motorcycle racer Graziano Rossi, it seems racing has been with him from the beginning – or is it the other way around? With 89 victories in the premier class he is the definitive racer of the two-wheeled Grand Prix.
Whether you follow MotoGP or not you will have heard of Valentino Rossi or recognise that neon number and font. However there is also no doubt that Rossi is largely responsible for such an increasing enthusiasm for MotoGP – once the realm of motorbike enthusiasts – to an ever-expanding audience. Number 46 transcended the boundaries of a beautiful niche and democratised it. As MotoGP commentator Nick Harris observes, he is "someone who has changed the sport and brought it to places it had never been to before - without a doubt there has never been anyone like Valentino Rossi in 73 years of Grand Prix racing".
The beautiful thing about Rossi has always been his ability to share his enormous personality with his fans. From wearing a Robin Hood get-up on the podium and ‘shooting’ sucker arrows into the crowd to the portable toilet visit on the track. And although that 10th win has eluded him, he leaves the track victorious having captured the hearts and minds of the world.
But this isn’t the last we’ll see of him; he’ll still be a familiar face around the paddock as his team VR46 enters the premier field next year. He’s also involved in helping train the next generation at an academy for up and coming racers based in his hometown of Tavullia. Outside of the sport, he will become a father for the first time; definitely an exciting journey in itself.
Thank you, Doctor. We’ll be seeing you.
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