Valentino Rossi will not be on the 2022 MotoGP grid after deciding to retire from the sport at the end of the season.
Rossi made the announcement in a special press conference held at the Red Bull Ring ahead of the Grand Prix of Styria this weekend. The nine-time world champion made his decision during the summer break; however, thoughts of retirement had been increasing after each race of a difficult 2021 season.
Full quotes from the press conference can be read below.
“I said during the season I’d take my decision for next year after the summer break,” Rossi told members of the media. “I decided to stop at the end of the season, so unfortunately this will be the last season as a MotoGP rider. It’s difficult, it’s a very sad moment because it’s difficult to say and to know that next year I will not race with motorcycles. I’ve done this for more or less 30 years so next year my life will change.
“It’s a difficult decision but you have to understand that in the end, in all the sports, the results make the difference. We have half a season left, and I think this will be more difficult when we arrive at the last race. For now, I just to tell everybody my decision. It’s okay, I can’t complain about my career.
“There are three championships that are the most important in my career. They are 2001, when I won the last 500cc championship, 2004 when I won the first year with Yamaha and 2008. Already in 2008, I was old and I was finished because after five championships in a row in MotoGP, I lost for two years, so usually in a normal career it’s over. But by changing to Bridgestone, I was able to come back to the top and fight with Lorenzo, Stoner and [Dani] Pedrosa and won two more championships.
“Seriously, I don’t have any regrets about the choices I made. For example, racing for Ducati was very difficult for me because we didn’t win, but it was a great challenge. An Italian rider on an Italian bike. If we were able to win it would have been historic.
“I am a little bit sad not to win the 10th championship, especially because I think I deserve this – for my level and for my speed. I lost two times in the last race, so I think I deserve the 10th title, but anyway, it’s like this. I don’t think I can complain about the result of my career.
“For some reason, I don’t know why, I was able to bring a lot of people closer to motorcycle racing. Without me, they don’t know about MotoGP. A lot of people started to follow motorcycle racing to follow me, and I think this is the most important thing that I do in my career, together with the results.
“I seriously don’t know why, but I think that I entertained a lot of people on Sunday afternoons. For one or two hours on a Sunday they didn’t think about nothing, and they just enjoyed following my races. I think this is the best thing.
“I have to say to my fans that I have given my everything for a long, long time because it’s more than 25 years. I’ve always tried my maximum to stay at the top. I have incredible support from all the fans around world. Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand for me, and it’s a little bit of a surprise, but this always make me very proud. I have to say thank you to all the fans and I think we’ve all enjoyed this together.”
Lead Image: Yamaha Motor Racing Srl