Valentino Rossi Is Not Sure About Retirement. How Does He Think We Feel?
Farewell To The King Is a Bittersweet Feelingby Harry Fisher, on LISTEN 03:54
With only three races in the 2021 MotoGP season left to run, Valentino Rossi is trying to work out what life without racing will be like. All of his fans are wondering what racing without Rossi will be like.
Rossi Ponders Retirement Consequences
On November 14th, the end of the Valencia MotoGP race will signal the end of the career of arguably the greatest motorcycle racer of all time. Whilst his millions of fans around the world are wondering how life will look without him on the grid, Valentino Rossi himself is wondering how his life will look without racing.
In a recent interview, Rossi, nine-time GP champion with 89 500cc/MotoGP wins in a premier class career spanning 21 years (25 years in GP racing overall), admitted he was starting to feel nervous about the prospect of working life as he knows it coming to an end.
Everyone, including Rossi, knew that this day had to come and it won’t be made any easier by everyone joining in the countdown. No race weekend will pass by without reference to the looming deadline. That was inevitable, but it doesn’t mean he has to know how to deal with it.
“I’m a bit paranoid about Valencia. I think I am not so ready for retirement,” he told DAZN.
“In Austria after announcing [my retirement at the end of the season], it didn’t influence me too much. In Valencia it will be more difficult because from that moment my life with change, I will stop being a MotoGP rider. It won’t be easy, but it will still be a good time.”
He can’t really complain, having had an incredibly successful career and, some would say, having the satisfaction of knowing that he almost single-handedly made the sport what it is today. But none of that will help fill the void when the new season comes around and he is forced to watch from the sidelines.
Of course, he is not leaving the sport altogether. Through the VR46 Academy and his new MotoGP team, he will retain strong links to racing but the adrenaline of running a team will be poor substitute for the adrenaline of lining up on the race track.
But what of his legions of fans? If he is feeling nervous, imagine what they are feeling. He has been such an integral part of the racing scene for so long, whether winning or not, that it will certainly feel different without him there.
Of course, it has been made easier in recent years as he has slipped further down the finishing order to the point where he is often hardly mentioned during a race. But no matter where he finished, you always knew he was there and that was a comforting thought, even if we secretly were embarrassed for him watching him struggle against the new crop of hotshots.
There will be some who say he should have retired three or four years ago but to say that is to ignore the passion for racing the man has and the difficulty of walking away from the thing that has defined your life for so long. Rossi knows nothing else other than the thrill of cut-and-thrust racing and, even though he has had a career of unprecedented length and success: it is as essential to him as breathing.
The good thing is that racing always regenerates and the level of talent at the top right now will easily fill the racing void left by Rossi’s departure. Whether the current crop of racers will fill the personality void is another matter.
MotoGP racing is in a very good place at the moment and that is thanks to Valentino Rossi raising its profile over the years and attracting young, hungry and ever-faster riders determined to be the ones to dethrone the king. Rossi raised the bar and that has to be a good thing, especially if we look at the quality of racing in MotoGP currently.
So, make the most of his presence on the race track while you can and remember the privilege we have been afforded by being able to watch him in action at the top of his game.