• Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi announces retirement.
• A 26-year career saw Rossi cement his status as one of the greatest motorcyclists of all time.
• Rossi will run VR46 Ducati team in a management and coaching role.
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24
Today, Italian MotoGP star Valentino Rossi announced that he would be retiring from World Championship motorcycle racing at the end of the 2021 season after 26 seasons of Grand Prix racing.
Rossi said in the announcement: "It was a long journey, but I have had a lot of fun, and I have had a good time with all the teams I have raced for and with all my team mates. It was a difficult decision, but like in any sport, the results make the difference. We still have a few races to contest this year, and I think it will only really hit me once the season is over."
The announcement was made at an exceptional press conference ahead of this weekends Styrian Grand Prix, which follows a recent summer break.
What's been your best Rossi memory from the rider's legendary career? Email us or share your thoughts in the comment section below.
A tough 2021
Rossi has had a tough year since switching from the Factory Monster Yamaha Energy Team at the end of 2020 and joining the satellite Petronas Yamaha Racing Team for the 2021 season. The Italian currently lies 19th in the championship standings, with only one top ten finish this year. Rossi's last MotoGP victory was in 2017 at the Dutch TT in the Netherlands.
During his career, Rossi has been involved in fierce rivalries both on track in the media with the likes of Max Biaggi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, and Marc Marquez in recent years. Rossi, who is affectionately known as The Doctor, has developed a massive fan base in all countries and remains a big drawcard to the MotoGP series. Fans are drawn to the charismatic rider who displays passion on track, especially when celebrating race victories.
The rider added: "Many of my fans were born after I started racing, and sometimes it is difficult for me to understand. But it makes me very proud, and I have to thank the fans for all the support over the years."
In recent years Rossi has taken a keen interest in developing the next generation of talent. This was done through the SkyVR6 Moto3 team, and training with young and upcoming riders at his ranch near his Italian home town of Tavullia.
Regarding his plans for next year, Rossi mentioned that he would make a switch to the world of four-wheeled motorsport. Rumours suggest that Rossi will race a Ferrari in the 2022 World Endurance Championship.
Rossi had previously announced that he would be setting up his own VR46 Ducati team to contest the MotoGP series from next year, which Saudi Arabian Oil company Aramco would sponsor. The owners of Aramco were hoping that Rossi would compete on this team as a rider alongside half brother Luca Marini, but Rossi has always been driven by results and remaining competitive and has thus taken the decision to run the team in a coaching and management role only.