“I’ve had a very long career and fortunately I won a lot of races, with some victories that are unforgettable – pure joy! Sometimes I laughed for one week and other times after ten days I was still laughing!”
Today Rossi rated his 2001, 2004 and 2008 MotoGP titles as his best. His only real disappointments are not winning with Ducati and not winning a tenth world title.
There is no doubt that this is the correct time for him to leave the MotoGP grid and turn his attentions to car racing and his VR46 empire.
Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud, whose oil business will back the VR46 MotoGP team for the next few seasons, made no secret of the fact that he wanted Rossi to race in his colours in 2022. But Rossi has only ever done what he wants to do. And although part of him wants to continue racing, he knows the game is up.
“It’s a difficult decision but in the end in all sports it’s results that make the difference, so I think it’s the right direction… I can’t complain about my career,” he said.
During 2020 there was still hope. He scored one podium and came very close to scoring more, so he still went into race weekends hoping for a prosecco shower on Sunday afternoon, the closure that every racer craves. This year he has scored just one top-ten result – tenth at Mugello – so he’s lost that hope.
He may be riding faster than ever but he’s not fast enough, and there comes a time when a rider can no longer bear looking at the result sheets, remembering where he used to be.