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In nearly every sport, there comes a time when the athlete faces the inevitability of retirement. Whether it’s an issue of age or an overall loss of competitive advantage because of health, sporting legends know when it’s time to bow out of the game. Valentino Rossi is known for his passion for motorcycle models, racing prowess, and championship status in the sport for years. However, Rossi recently announced that he’s bidding a fond farewell to motorcycle racing, with the 2021 season being his last as an official track contender.

The long and prosperous career of Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi of MotoGP and Petronas Yamaha SRT at the Red Bull Ring
Valentino Rossi of MotoGP | Steve Wobser/Getty Images

Cycle World says Valentino Rossi is the greatest racer of a generation and maybe of all time. The Italian motorcycle rider didn’t just win races, though. He made a pretty big name for himself as a cheerful and lighthearted rival to other well-known racers, including Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi. His now-famous number 46 is an honor to his father since it’s the number his father wore throughout his own motorcycle racing career. So, racing, some might say, is in his blood. Rossi also personified an entertaining style that fans loved, and it certainly didn’t hurt that he continued to win so many races. 

Biz News Post shares Valentino Rossi’s successes, including winning nine world championships, seven of which were in the premier class. It’s one of the reasons fans amicably refer to him as “the GOAT” (greatest of all time.) Furthermore, he’s the only motorcycle rider to have won in the 500cc, 250cc, and 125cc segments, claiming seven 500cc World Championships. According to Road Racing World, Rossi’s career spanned over the last 26 years and resulted in 235 total podium finishes for his performance on two wheels.

What made Valentino Rossi so successful?

Valentino Rossi loves motorcycles and teamed up with the best team members over the span of his nearly 30-year career of riding. Rossi and his crew chief Jeremy Burgess have made genius use of trackside data to achieve a winning advantage. Analysts studying motorcycle racing dynamics say the easier a bike is to ride, the faster the rider can complete laps. It’s just that simple. For those watching Rossi over the years, leading the pack with confidence and ease, it’s clear the team learned how to maximize the data to control and prevent sliding, tipping, and spinning on the track, helping contribute the arsenal of wins. Lastly, Rossi brought plenty of his own motorcycle racing skills to the table, too.

His retirement from MotoGP


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Valentino Rossi is calling it quits and stepping out of motorcycle racing altogether after this year. In a press conference, the 42-year-old said, “unfortunately, this will be my last season,” and discussed his sadness in walking away from such a fun and significant part of his life. Rossi plans to finish out his year with the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team.

So, what does a guy like Valentino Rossi plan to do with his free time after retiring? He plans to race cars, of course! He may even be in a car on the track by 2022. Additionally, while Rossi won’t be racing motorcycles himself, he’s not done with the sport entirely. Sources including MotoGP suggest he plans to remain involved with his new Aramco Racing Team VR46 to compete in the MotoGP World Championship for 2022, with a recently signed three-year contract with Ducati. So, Rossi fans will likely still get to see him, just not on the back of the motorcycle racing for the lead.

After this season, fans are sad to hear that Valentino Rossi won’t be taking the podium as a Championship motorcycle rider. However, with as much passion for the sport and racing, it’s not likely that a vibrant personality like Rossi will ever fade out of the public eye.