In almost a yearly occurrence, Valentino Rossi will once again take 6-7 races to assess his future and see if he wants to continue to race in 2022.
Valentino Rossi is one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, adapting to different motorcycles almost instantly and being competitive on them. The 9 x World Champion has 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP titles and as of this month will be 42 years old heading into his 26th season racing on the World stage in 2021.
Winning the last 500cc race before moving to the 4 strokes and winning the first-ever 4 stroke race was impressive, winning his last ever Honda race and his first-ever Yamaha race probably even more impressive. However all good things come to an end eventually, we have slowly but surely seen Rossi in a downward decline as his age plays a massive part in his ability to race and remain competitive in MotoGP with the younger riders coming into the class and stepping up the game year on year, despite this he is still able to finish on the podium every year but has not won a race since 2017.
For 2021 a new challenge awaits, he moves to the Petronas team who have been outstanding these last few years and have outshone the factory Yamaha team, this move could actually be considered to be an ‘upgrade’ given that the Petronas team were the most winningest team in 2020, they took 6 race wins with Morbidelli and Quartararo at 3 apiece and Morbidelli finishing in second place overall in the MotoGP standings, plus Quartararo led much of the championship before the stress and pressure took a toll on the young Frenchman.
Once again Valentino Rossi is to evaluate how competitive he is and make a decision after 6-7 races to see if he wants to continue with his long term assistant and more importantly, friend, Uccio Salucci speaking to Sky Sport24 and confirming this saying, “It will depend a lot on the races, after 6-7 gp we will see if he is having fun and how competitive he will be, at which point we will make a choice”.
Rossi’s podium at the Andalucian Grand Prix
The departure of Valentino Rossi will absolutely cause a stir within MotoGP, he has an astronomical following and has been the most famous face in MotoGP for the last 20 years, his retirement from racing does not mean he will be leaving the paddock with the possibility of a VR46 MotoGP team on the horizon.
The major success of the VR46 Riders Academy which now has three riders in the premier class, namely Francesco Bagnaia (Factory Ducati), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) and Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) means that a VR46 Riders Academy team is closer to being a reality than it is a dream, they will make their first steps in MotoGP in 2021 with Marini riding in a Sky VR46 badged Avintia Ducati, two of the three VR46 MotoGP riders are Moto2 World Champions with Marini being a Moto2 runner up and Morbidelli being a MotoGP runner up and race winner.
The talent in the lower classes is evolving incredibly quickly with Marco Bezzecchi showing major promise and talent in Moto2 and is one of the favourites for the title this year, surely a MotoGP ride is only 12 months away for the Italian, this is not forgetting Moto2 rookie Celestino Vietti who took Moto3 by storm taking a podium in just his second Moto3 race, he moves to Moto2 and there’s no doubt he’s going to cause some problems for the title fighters.
Uccio confirmed that a fully blown MotoGP team is on the horizon saying, “Our guys have grown faster than expected, the time has come to think about making a team in MotoGP. The road is long, the step to take is also important from an economic point of view, we are facing fundamental months. We don’t know which bike to go to MotoGP with, for sure we all know that our heart is with Yamaha.”
Source – SkySport24
Featured images – www.motogp.com