Italian professional motorcycle road racer and multiple-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will officially retire from the MotoGP scene, effective at the end of the 2021 season.
The news came announced via live coverage on MotoGP’s website, alongside the report that the young Italian made his decision in the shadows of the Styrian GP, where he first won a podium during his 125cc class debut in the Grand Prix motorcycling scene of 1996.
According to a release from Motorsport, Rossi has been hauling podiums with his decorated self for 26 seasons, making him one of the most iconic racers of our time.
Of the years he has been leaning into track twisties, Rossi has competed in a total of 414 races – 115 of which stand strong as Grand Prix victories.
After his first win in the 250cc class of 1998 (The Dutch TT), Rossi signed on to Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) – and a very nice factory NSR500 – winning the first of his seven premiere titles for Y2K in what was then the highest class in World Championship motorcycle racing.
His success continued into his riding for the Honda REPSOL team at the MotoGP World Championship, carrying him into victories for both the 2003 and 2004 years, before he made an abrupt about-face switch to Yamaha in 2004.
With the Yamaha YZR-M1, Rossi made headlines again, blasting past Max Biaggi and securing a win for the Yamaha team in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Despite a series of further wins for the young racer in 2008 and 2009, Rossi’s career came to a pause when he broke his leg, putting aside any hopes invested in the Italian 2010 title.
2011 saw Valentino healing from the broken leg, as well as undergo surgery for a shoulder injury. He signed on to the big guns during this time with a move to red on a two-year Ducati contract.
2011 was Rossi’s first winless season – the first time in his Grand Prix career – and the battles on the track were harder than ever.
His best finish on a Ducati to date was in his 2012 season in France, when he beat the Tech3 riders and finished second place.
Rossi also experienced similar successes that year with his time on the track at Le Mans of San Marino (many contribute these successes in part to the new and improved swingarm and frame sliders installed on his Ducati around this time).
Rossi soon rejoined the Yamaha team, where he was to stay until the present date. During his 2014-2021 seasons with Yamaha, Rossi and fellow teammate Maverick Vinales struggled a bit with their racebikes, leaving the racers feeling frustrated and less than satisfied on the track.
Despite this, Rossi continued to secure a few wins, taking the podium twice in 2014.
In 2015 the drama mounted when Rossi accused Marc Marquez of conspiring with Jorge Lorenzo to can his potential for Australia. The resulting consequence had the Italian in a back-of-the-grid start for the Valencia finale.
Rossi’s further wins were dwindling; the Italian secured two wins for 2016, then one in 2017 (The Dutch TT). His podiums also were less frequent, from five podiums in 2018 to two in 2019, and a final podium last year at the second race of Andalucia.
Despite the chaos and beauty that naturally accompanies the stats of a racer’s career, Valentino Rossi is an amazingly talented man.
With his generous personality and competition with Biaggi, Sete Gibernau, Casey Stoner, and Lorenzo, Rossi helped create a MotoGP that, today, is seen and loved by all.
“I have made my decision for next year – and I have decided to stop after the end of the season. Unfortunately, this will be my last season as a MotoGP rider”, says Rossi in a live coverage.
“It was great and I had an unforgettable moments with my team, with all my guys that worked for me. Molto, molto bueno. ”
The young racer will always live in our hearts, as well as through his recent work with the VR46 Riders Academy, founded in 2014.
Big names have arisen from this academy – including Morbidelli, Bagnaia, Marini, Bezzecchi, Nicolo Bulega, Niccolò Antonelli, Andrea Migno, Celestino Vietti, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Stefano Manzi, Dennis Foggia and others – and we look forward to the amazing moment that Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team graces the MotoGP stage, in 2022.
Stay tuned for updates, and make sure to check out Rossi’s Sky Racing Team VR46.
At the Catalan GP, Marc Marquez won for the 44th time in MotoGP after qualifying within the top three.
Marc Marquez’ win at the Catalan GP was the 160th for a Spanish rider in the premier class of Grand Prix racing. Spain is second on the list of nations with the most GP wins in the class behind Italy, which has 243.
Marc Marquez has failed to score points only three times since the Catalan GP last year (Australia and Valencia in 2018, and Austin this season). Over the last 16 races he has finished, he has always been on the podium and finished third only once, in Brno.
Fabio Quartararo crossed the line in second at the Catalan GP as the top rookie and the highest-placed Independent team rider. He is still leading the fight for the Rookie of the Year with 51 points ahead Joan Mir (22 points), Miguel Oliveira (12) and Francesco Bagnaia (9).
In addition, Fabio Quartararo moved up to second place in the Independent Team rider classification, two points behind Jack Miller (53 points). That second placed finish made him the fifth youngest rider of all time (including 500 GP), to have stood on a MotoGP podium. Randy Mamola was the youngest when he stood on the podium for the first time in Finland, 1979.
Alex Rins finished in fourth place at the Catalan GP and he has now scored points in the last 16 successive races. The last time he failed to score any points was in Germany last year when he crashed on the opening lap.
Following the Catalan GP, Suzuki have scored 101 points, which is the most points accumulated after the opening seven races by Suzuki since 2000 when they had 128 points at this stage of the season.
Davide Brivio Suzuki Team Manager looks to assen
“The test we did in Catalunya last week gave us important information and also interesting feedback. We are now evaluating if some of the solutions should be used already in Assen, or if we need some further investigation. In any case, we start Assen with positivity, especially following the good race that Alex put together here in 2018. The circuit layout may suit our machine characteristics, so we will work with our usual program to prepare for the race in the best way possible. Joan is also on good form, he found more feeling with his bike and his confidence is getting better and better, we hope this will see him achieve the results he deserves.”
Neither of the two Yamaha factory riders have won at least one of the seven opening races for the second successive year. The last time the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team did not have a win in any of the first seven races of the year in two successive seasons was in 2002 and 2003.
Following the Catalan GP, Yamaha have scored 108 points in the Constructor’s World Championship classification, which is the lowest points accumulated after the opening seven races by Yamaha since 2003 when the Japanese manufacturer had 83 points after the Dutch TT.
Massimo Meregalli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“After an important and successful test in Catalunya, we come to Assen with some optimism and also quite a bit of fire in our bellies. The way things ended at the previous round was a real shame and had serious consequences for our outlook on the championship. However, we are determined to make a strong comeback here this weekend and we‘re using the unfortunate incident in Catalunya to fuel our motivation even more. We want to be on the podium, and to do so we need to be at the front at every session, so that will be our focus. Vale and Mack both like riding in Assen, so we’re feeling confident that we can do well this weekend.”
With Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and KTM within the top 10 in Catalunya, this is the sixth time this year there have been at least five different manufacturers within the top 10. The last time there were at least five different manufacturers within the top 10 in six (or more) of the first seven races of the year was in 1993.
Johann Zarco crossed the line in 10th place at the Catalan GP, which is his best result since he joined KTM this year. With Pol Espargaro in seventh and Johann Zarco in 10th, this is the third time there were two KTM riders within the top 10 in MotoGP along with Australia 2017 and Valencia last year. This is the sixth top 10 finish for KTM this year, one more than last year and one less than their first season in the premier class in 2017.
Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider across all Grand Prix classes in Assen with 10 victories (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc and 8 x MotoGP). The next most successful on the current grid, with five wins, is Marc Marquez (1 x 125cc, 2 x Moto2, 2 x MotoGP).
Valentino Rossi crashed out of the race at the Catalan GP, although through no fault of his own, making it the first time he failed to score any points in two successive races he competed in since Japan and Australia back in 2011, riding a Ducati.
With Andrea Dovizioso crashing out in Barcelona, only three riders have scored points in all seven of the MotoGP races in 2019: Alex Rins, Danilo Petrucci and Pol Espargaro.
“There’s no time to linger on the points lost at Barcelona, we need to tackle each race working as hard as we’ve done until now. I believe we are showing great competitiveness and, even though there are always areas to improve, we have proven our speed. Assen isn’t the most favorable track for our bike and weather conditions always play a fundamental role there, but at any rate we’ve shown we’re capable of progressively improving during the course of a weekend even on tricky circuits. We need to stay calm and focused, taking it one race at a time. The Championship has still a long way to go.”
With Sylvain Guintoli finishing the race in 13th place at Catalunya, all riders who finished scored points at Barcelona, which is the first time this has happened in dry weather conditions since the Catalan GP last year. In addition, this is the first time there were 13 riders across the line since the French GP back in 2013 (13 finishers).
With Fabio Quartararo, Johann Zarco and Sylvain Guintoli, this is the first time three French riders have scored at least one point in the same premier class race since the French GP in 2017 with Johann Zarco, Loris Baz and Sylvain Guintoli.
The only two of the four rookies in the MotoGP class this year to have previously won at the Dutch TT in any of the smaller classes are Francesco Bagnaia, in Moto3 back in 2016 and in Moto2 last year, and Miguel Oliveira in Moto3 back in 2015.
Motorcycle Grand Prix Racing at Assen
Assen is the only venue that has hosted a Grand Prix event every year since the motorcycle World Championship Grand Prix series started back in 1949.
The Dutch TT became part of the World Championship series when it was first created in 1949 and Assen is the only circuit to have been part of the series every year since, making this the 71st Dutch TT that has counted towards the world championship classification.
In 2016, the Dutch TT was held on Sunday for the first time; all previous Dutch TT events had taken place on Saturday. Last year, the races were held in July for the first since 1955.
The original Assen circuit, that was used up to 1954, measured 16.54 km. This was reduced to 7.7 km in 1955 and then in 1984 further modifications to the circuit reduced the length to 6.1 km. The current layout has been used since 2006, with a few minor adjustments.
A total of 268 Grand Prix races for solo motorcycles have been held at the TT Circuit Assen since 1949 as follows: MotoGP –17, 500cc–53, 350cc–33, Moto2 –9, 250cc–58, Moto3 –7, 125cc–63, 80cc–6, 50cc–22.
The 500cc race at the 1975 Dutch TT is the only premier class Grand Prix race where the first two riders across the line have been credited with the same race time. Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini finished so close that the timekeepers of the day, using manual timing accurate to 0.1 sec, were unable to split them.
Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch TT since the start of the four-stroke MotoGP era, with nine wins with three different riders: Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, who took his one and only win in the premier class back in 2011.
Honda have had seven MotoGP wins at the Dutch TT with six different riders: Valentino Rossi, Sete Gibernau, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez and Jack Miller.
Ducati have won only once in MotoGP at the Dutch TT with Casey Stoner back in 2008. Ducati has had three podium finishes at Assen in the past eight years: Andrea Dovizioso was second in 2014, Scott Redding third in 2016 and Danilo Petrucci second in 2017.
The last win for a Suzuki rider at the Dutch TT was in the 500cc race in 1993 with Kevin Schwantz. The best result by Suzuki in the MotoGP class at the Dutch TT is a second-place finish by Alex Rins last year.
The last rider to win the MotoGP race at the Dutch TT in successive years is Valentino Rossi, in 2004 and 2005.
In the 500cc class, Giacomo Agostini and Mick Doohan both won the Dutch TT five years in a row.
The most successful rider at Assen is Angel Nieto with 15 wins in the 125cc and 50cc classes, followed by Giacomo Agostini who had 14 wins riding 500cc and 350cc machines.
Among the current riders, Valentino Rossi is the most successful at Assen with a total of 10 wins, eight in MotoGP (seven with Yamaha, one with Honda) and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes.
The top 15 in the MotoGP race at the Dutch GP in 2018 was closest in the premier class of Grand Prix racing at the time, with 16.043 seconds between Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. The record was beaten in Qatar earlier this season.
Four Dutch riders have won a Grand Prix race at the TT Circuit Assen: Paul Lodewijkx (50cc–1968), Wil Hartog (500cc–1977), Jack Middelburg (500cc–1980) and Hans Spaan (125cc–1989).
The nine Moto2 races that have taken place at the TT Circuit Assen have been won by eighth different riders: Andrea Iannone, Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro, Anthony West, Johann Zarco, Takaaki Nakagami, Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia. The only rider who has more than a single Moto2 win at this circuit is Marc Márquez who won in both 2011 and 2012.
The seven Moto3 races that have taken place at the TT Circuit Assen circuit have been won by seven different riders: Maverick Viñales, Luis Salom, Alex Marquez, Miguel Oliveira, Francesco Bagnaia, Aron Canet and Jorge Martin.