Valentino Rossi to start his final MotoGP race from 10th on the grid in Valencia

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Valentino Rossi of Italy and Petronas Yamaha SRT looks at the box during the free practice session of the MotoGP Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 12, 2021 in Valencia, Spain.
Valentino Rossi of Italy and Petronas Yamaha SRT looks at the box during the free practice session of the MotoGP Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 12, 2021 in Valencia, Spain.
Photo by Steve Wobser

Seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi will start Sunday's season-ending Valencia Grand Prix from tenth place on the grid, in the final race of his long career.

Rossi, 42, squeezed into the top ten as 23-year-old Spanish rider Jorge Martin secured pole position on his Ducati in qualifying on Saturday.

Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia, Rossi's Italian protege who was denied a sixth straight pole position, will start from second place.

Already-crowned world champion Fabio Quartararo could do no better than eighth place.

The yellow flags of Rossi supporters will dominate on Sunday in what organisers believe will be a 75 000-strong crowd for the Italian's emotional farewell.

It will be Rossi's 432nd Grand Prix in all categories since he began his career in 1996.

As well as his seven premier class titles, he was also world champion in the 125cc and 250cc divisions in his early years.

Rossi is looking to the future by building his legacy at his "VR46 Academy", and his VR46 team will make its debut in MotoGP next year as a Ducati satellite.

He is also planning to try his luck on four wheels in GT Racing, and is soon to become a father as his partner Francesca Novello is expecting a baby girl.

"I can't complain, I have had a very long and successful career. Now I want to enjoy life -- I will be a father next year," Rossi said on Thursday.

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