The veteran motorcyclist Valentino Rossi has announced that he will retire at the end of the MotoGP season. The nine-time world champion announced this while Speaking at a news conference before the Styrian Grand Prix.
The 42-year-old Italian said “it’s a very sad moment”.
Rossi, whose Grand Prix career has spanned 25 years, is the only rider in history to win World Championships in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP.
“It’s difficult to say and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle,” Rossi said.
News of Rossi’s announcement also came with confirmation he will be “concentrating his efforts” on his new MotoGP team, Sky Racing Team VR46, in 2022.
Rossi won the last of his nine titles in 2009, but has remained one of MotoGP’s most prominent riders and has long been regarded one of the world’s most iconic sportspeople. Since his last title win, he finished runner-up in the championship to Marc Marquez in 2014 and 2016, and Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
Rossi, who moved from Yamaha’s factory team to satellite team Petronas Yamaha SRT for 2021 campaign is 19th in the riders’ standings after nine races – his worst start to a season.
He is the only rider to have started 400 or more races in the sports’ history and has amassed a total of 115 victories, with 89 coming in MotoGP.
Remarkably, he has earned a podium place on 235 occasions since making his debut in 1996. The highest he has finished in nine races this season, however, is 10th.