Valentino Rossi, 9 time World Champion, announces retirement
- Unfortunately, this will be my last half season as a MotoGP rider, Rossi said in a press conference
- Valentino is a living legend, Yamaha MD Lin Jarvis said
- Rossi will continue to ride for Petronas Yamaha SRT for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship
Valentino Rossi, nine-time World Champion, on Thursday, announced that he will retire from MotoGP at the end of 2021. Fondly called The Doctor, he will hang up his leathers at the end of the season and bring his illustrious 25 year Grand Prix career to an end.
He has won seven premier-class World Championships, 115 Grands Prix. This included a record 89 premier class victories, and he has finished a remarkable 235 times since he started back in 1996.
Rossi had earlier said that ahead of the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria, he would be holding a special press conference. And it was during this press conference he announced that this season would be his last.
"I said I would take a decision for next year after the summer break, and I decided to stop at the end of the season," the Italian racer said.
"Unfortunately this will be my last half season as a MotoGP rider. And it's difficult, it's a very sad moment because it's difficult to say and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle, I've done that for I think more or less 30 years!" he added.
"Next year, my life will change. But it was great, I've enjoyed it very much, it's been a long, long journey and it was really, really fun. It's 25, 26 years in the World Championship, so it was great. And I had unforgettable moments with all my guys, the guys who work for me, so... I don't have a lot to say! Just this," he said.
"Valentino is a living legend whose successes and personal flair contributed to Yamaha's legacy and heritage in abundance," said Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis.
"Also, during more difficult periods, his positive mindset would be a boost to those around him, and he was always ready to go the extra mile for a good result."
Rossi, 42, will continue to ride for Petronas Yamaha SRT for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship. After that, he will shift his focus on the Aramco Racing Team VR46, in 2022.
After starting off with a 125cc crown in 1997 and adding a 250cc title two years later, the Doctor won top category world crowns in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009.