Nine-times champion Valentino Rossi to retire at end of MotoGP season

Valentino Rossi has announced he will retire from MotoGP at the end of the season. The nine-times world champion, 42, announced the news ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.

Rossi will bring down the curtain on an illustrious 25-year career which yielded 115 victories. He is the only rider to win the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP world championships.

Speaking at a press conference in Austria, Rossi said: “I have decided to stop at the end of the season. Unfortunately, this will be my last half-season as a MotoGP rider.

“It is a very sad moment because it’s difficult to say and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle.

“Next year, my life will change. But it was great, I’ve enjoyed it very much, it’s been a long, long journey and it was really, really fun, and I have had unforgettable moments with all my guys.”

Rossi has been the dominant rider of his generation. The Italian made his mark in the 125cc world championship – the breeding ground for many of the latest stars of MotoGP – in 1996. Rossi took his first win later that year at Brno in the Czech Republic ahead of finishing ninth in the overall standings. A year later he won his first world title on board an Aprilia before moving up to the 250cc class where he finished second and first in successive seasons for the Italian manufacturer. Then came the momentous move to the 500cc class with Honda at the turn of the century.

Rossi won the world title in 2001, 2002 and 2003 before moving to Yamaha in 2004 where he won his fourth premier class title in a row, following it up with a repeat success the following season.
Two more world titles for Yamaha took his tally to nine by 2009 before he joined Ducati.

But two unproductive and frustrating seasons in 2011 and 2012 followed – the start of a run which has seen him fail to add to his tally of world crowns.

Rossi then took successive runner-up spots between 2014 and 2016 despite being back with the Yamaha team he left to join Ducati.
While riders like Jorge Lorenzo and Honda’s Marc Márquez have dominated the top step of the podium Rossi, who recorded his last victory at the Dutch Grand Prix in 2017, failed to win that final world title to take him into double figures.


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