Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We’ll Never Forget Him

You can’t deny the man’s got charisma

LISTEN 02:27

He may have retired from MotoGP racing but, unlike many ex-racers, Valentino Rossi is still number one, the Greatest Of All Time, and his popularity just isn’t waning. This interview conducted during his last year in racing - 2021 - shows the class of the man.

Rossi May Be Gone From The MotoGP Paddock, But He’s Certainly Not Forgotten


It might be mere months since the rider many consider to be the greatest of all time, Valentino Rossi, hung up his racing leathers but the hysteria and affection that surrounds him will likely never dissipate.

Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078033
Valentino Rossi: Never Forgotten
He won the 125cc Championship in 1996 and then the 250cc Championship in 1998

Throughout his astonishing 26 year career, he won more races than anyone except that other great Italian, Giacomo Agostini, on his way to nine world championships, one each in 125cc and 250cc and seven in 500cc/MotoGP. At the end of his career, he was racing against riders who had literally grown up idolising him and he remained the yardstick by which others were measured, even when he was being left behind by those same young guns.

Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078034
The Last 500cc Champion
In 2001, Rossi took his first premier class championship, the last to be run under the old 500cc rules

Rossi was a breath of fresh air in the racing paddock which could, at times, take itself far too seriously. His post-race antics became increasingly elaborate and have been emulated by so many riders.

Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078035
2002: First MotoGP Championship
Rossi took his second premier class crown and the first MotoGP title

He was a racer through and through, often winning races on the line and not by running away at the front and riding a lonely race in order to win. He wore his heart on his sleeve and had more on- and off-track rivalries than some riders have victories. That was always going to be the case: when you’re the best, you have a large target on your back.

Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078036
2003: Yet Again
Third premier crown, yet again on the Honda MotoGP machine. A change was in store for 2004

His way of racing was to have fun first and foremost. He carried on having fun away from the race track and his training regime involved riding at his ’Ranch’ near his home town of Tavulia, in the company of friends and members of his VR46 Academy, whom he was training to form an Italian answer to the recent dominance of Spanish riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078037
2004: First Title for Yamaha
Against the odds, Rossi joined previously underperforming Yamaha and took them to title glory

This interview, conducted by Suzy Perry for BT Sport, on the occasion of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2021, is typical of Rossi: relaxed, fun, talking with affection about the sport he has given so much to and which has given him so much.

Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078039
2005: No Fluke
To prove 2004 was no fluke, Rossi did it again in 2005
Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078038
2008: Back On Top
Having lost the title to first Nicky Hayden and then Casey Stoner, Rossi bounced back in 2008
Video: Valentino Rossi Is Retired, But We'll Never Forget Him
- image 1078040
2009: Final Title
Yet another back-to-back championship victory, his last, although he would come close twice more in the 2010s
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: