Valentino Rossi to retire from motorcycle racing at season end

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Valentino Rossi of Italy and Petronas Yamaha SRT looks during the MotoGP free practice at Circuit TT Assen on June 25, 2021 in Assen, Netherlands (Photo by Steve Wobser / Getty Images via CFP).
Valentino Rossi of Italy and Petronas Yamaha SRT looks during the MotoGP free practice at Circuit TT Assen on June 25, 2021 in Assen, Netherlands (Photo by Steve Wobser / Getty Images via CFP).

MotoGP legend and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi on Thursday announced that he would retire at the end of the current season, after 26 years in the sport.

The 42-year-old Italian signed a one-season deal with Yamaha-SRT for the 2021 campaign, attracting hushed talks of his imminent departure from the track.

“Unfortunately, this will be my last half season as a MotoGP rider. And it’s difficult, it’s a very sad moment because it’s difficult to say it and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle, I’ve done that for I think more or less 30 years,” he said.

“It’s difficult because I had the chance to race for my team in MotoGP, together with my brother, something that I would like. But it’s ok like this I think… we have another half season, I don’t know how many races, I think it will be more difficult when we arrive at the last race, but for now it’s just to say my decision to everyone. I can’t complain about my career!”

Rossi has competed in 423 Grand Prix motorcycle races, 363 in the top class.

He won top category world crowns in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009, having started off with a 125cc crown in 1997 before adding a 250cc title two years later.

“I can’t complain about my career,” he said in his announcement on Thursday.

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