The Italian confirmed he will end his legendary motorcycle racing career after 26 seasons
Valentino Rossi has announced he will retire from Moto GP at the end of the 2021 season.
The Italian motocycle racing legend is one of the most decorated riders in the sport, with 26 seasons in his career.
The 41-year-old won a record-equalling seven premier class titles and nine overall titles across Moto GP, 250cc and 125cc.
Rossi won 115 grand prix from 414 starts, with 89 of those victories in the premier class, plus 235 podiums.
Rossi had lost his Yamaha factory place, but opted to persevere with Yamaha’s backing at Petronas SRT, though success has proven to be a struggle with just 19 points in the first nine races of the season.
“I take my decision for next year after the summer break and I’ve decided to stop at the end of the season. This will be the last season for me as a MotoGP rider,” Rossi said at his conference.
“I have done this thing for more or less 30 years. It’s a very sad moment because I won’t race next year with a motorcycle. Next year my life will change. It was great, I enjoy a lot and it was really fun. I had unforgettable moments.”
Rossi’s career will be defined by a dominant span from 2001-2005, which saw him bank five consecutive world titles with Honda and Yamaha.
Two more would follow with his Yamaha partnership in 2008 and 2009, and the team helped revitalise his career with three runner-up finishes from 2014-16 after an unsuccessful spell with Ducati for two seasons.
Rossi’s last victory came in 2017 at the Dutch TT in Assen with ‘The Doctor’ building an enormous global fanbase.
He will leave the sport as a legend after accumulating the most wins, most second and third places, most podium finishes, most points and the longest MotoGP career.
Rossi’s legacy will live long after his career, too, having established the VR46 Academy, which has already proven to be successful in building a pipeline for the next great Italian riders, having seen graduates Franco Morbidelli and Pecco Bagnaia already race in Moto GP.