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Yamaha-SRT Italian rider Valentino Rossi addresses a press conference to announce that he will retire at the end of the year, in Spielberg, Austria. (AFP)
Yamaha-SRT Italian rider Valentino Rossi addresses a press conference to announce that he will retire at the end of the year, in Spielberg, Austria. (AFP)

Valentino Rossi to retire from motorcycling track this year, eyes switch to cars

  • Valentino Rossi might be seen competing in the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours.

Motorcycling great Valentino Rossi on Thursday has announced that he will be retiring at end of 2021. The nine-time world champion confirmed his decision about retiring from motorcycling racing at the Styrian GP, where he took his first grand prix podium in the 125cc class back in 1996.

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Rossi’s last MotoGP title came in 2009. But with nine titles to his name, Rossi had already cemented his status as one of the most accomplished riders in the history of motorcycle racing.

While Rossi won't be seen riding with a motorcycle from the next MotoGP season, he is not completely leaving the motorsports arena. He will be swapping motorcycle handlebars for a car steering wheel, reports MotorSports Magazine. Rossi's love for car racing is not unknown. He started out racing go-karts and appeared for several Formula One tests.

Rossi has already talked about his desire to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours. It can be said that he won’t be doing it just for the sake of racing. As he said, a real rider or driver races strong and for the win.

The 42-year-old Italian MotoGP great said that he has decided to stop at the end of the season. "It’s hard to make this decision, I would have wanted to race for another 25 years but the moment has come to say, ‘Stop.’ So, unfortunately, this will be my last half-season as a MotoGP rider," he said.

Valentino Rossi is regarded as one of the best-ever motorcycle racers. He won seven premier class titles and nine overall across MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc. Rossi won a record of 115 GP and 89 among them in the premier class. His 235 podium appearances are more than any other MotoGP rider.

However, he has been able to win any race since 2017. Also, his last podium appearance was more than a year ago. In the current season, Rossi's position is 19th. From the nine races, he has 17 points.

Talking about his decision, Rossi said that it is a sad and difficult moment for him to say that next year, he won't race with a bike. "I have done this for nearly 30 years and next year my life will change from a certain point of view. But it was great and I had so much fun. We still have half a season, I think it will be more difficult when we get to the last race," he further added.

Nicknamed “The Doctor," Rossi is a colorful and entertaining character, whose name transcended the sport, and he will be widely missed from the circuit.

“It was a long journey together, many people who support me today or race with me weren’t even born when I started on the track," Rossi said. “It was an incredible support and sometimes difficult even for me to comprehend, but it makes me proud and I think we have had fun together." (AP) ATK ATK

  • First Published Date : 06 Aug 2021, 10:04 AM IST