“I decided [to retire] in the summer break,” said Rossi. “At the beginning of the season… I want to continue [into 2022]. But I said I need to understand if I’m fast enough. Unfortunately during the season the results are less than what we expect, so race by race, you know, I start to think, and what’s next.
“I already said that I love to race with the cars, just a little bit less than the race with a motorcycle. So I think I will race with the cars from from next year.
Rossi said that still hoped to be competitive in the second half of this season, before waving farewell at the last race in Valencia. Asked about his perfroamnces in recent years, Rossi aid he could not explain why he had found it so difficult to fight at the front.
“In 2018 I did a great season: I finished third in the championship,” he said. “I don’t win a race, but I did a lot of points. “In 2019 I started in very very well, but after something changed. What, sincerely, I don’t know.
“Last year I was quite strong. At the beginning of the season I did one podium, I finish fifth, but at the end of the of the season, I was more in trouble, to stay with the top guys. The level is, is very, very high. And the new young riders are always, always stronger,
“So, some different, different things, I didn’t know precisely why. This year, I think, ‘Ok, I cannot win, but I can be more more competitive’. But we will see, we have another half of the season and we try to be stronger than in the first part.”
With the formation of his own Aramco VR46 Racing, running Ducatis in 2022, Rossi joked that he had an “official offer” to remain on the MotoGP grid for next year, alongside his half-brother, Luca Marini, but decided against beginning a longer-term project. “I think deeply to continue, because I like to race in my team,” he said. “It is a good project if you have two or three years. But if you think that you have just one season, maybe there are more risks than the good things.”
The Doctor will sign off his career holding the record for most wins, most second and third places, most podium finishes, most points and longest MotoGP career and as a legend of the sport.
But the man who finished runner-up in six championships, said that he regretted not winning a tenth title. “I am a little bit sad to not win the tenth championship,” he said. Because I think that I deserve [it] — for my level and for my speed. But anyway, it is like this, but I think that I cannot complain about the result of my of my career.
“The three titles that are the most important in my career is 2001, when I won the last 500cc championship. 2004, when I won with Yamaha, and 2008, because already in 2008 I was old and I was finished. After five championship in a row in MotoGP, I lose for two years. Usually, in a normal career, it’s over.”
Rossi secured five consecutive world titles from 2001-2005 with Honda and then Yamaha and a further two with the latter manufacturer in 2008 and 2009, a stint that included an incredible 75 race victories.
Two fruitless years with Ducati followed before he returned to Yamaha in 2013 where he finished runner-up in the championship to Marc Márquez in the 2014 and ’16 seasons and Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.