38-year old MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has one more year left in his contract. He admits that he has not yet made a decision as to whether he will continue riding beyond next season. “I will decide on my future over the next season,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “If I find out after a few races that I’m competitive, I’d like to keep going longer”. Rossi and his fellow competitors arrive in Valencia for the final race of the MotoGP season.
He has a great track record at this track as he has won in 2003 and 2004. “I’m preparing in a focused and organised manner for the final weekend race in Valencia,” he insisted ahead of the event. “It’s an important moment for me, I’m arriving in quite good form at the last event in Valencia. My leg has improved and I feel fit.”
Rossi suffered a double leg break earlier in the season after a motocross accident. He subsequently missed his hometown race in Misano. However, he made a miraculously return to his bike after just over three weeks on the sidelines. But Rossi is out of this year’s title race, as Marc Marquez bids for his fourth world championship in five years.
Rossi is a 9-times world champion and a legend in his own right. He may be out of the championship running but you can never count the Doctor out when it comes to winning a race. Rossi and new teammate Maverick Vinales have struggled so far this season. So much so that satellite rookie rider Johann Zarco has outpaced them on a few occasions. Yamaha started the season on a strong note but as Honda and Ducati got stronger, Yamaha’s challenge fizzled out. Soon it became a 2 horse race between Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso.
Going into Valencia, Dovi still has a mathematical chance as long as he wins and Marquez is nowhere in the points. But the chances of that happening are highly unlikely.
Will this be the last we see of Valentino Rossi?
While Rossi will have to hang up his boots eventually, I sincerely doubt that this is the last we see of him. Valentino has contributed greatly to Italian motorcycle racing. Several Italian riders have trained in the VR46 Riders Academy. Many of these riders also train at Rossi’s ranch. These riders can be found scattered in Moto3 and Moto2. In 2018, Franco Morbidelli will be the first VR46 Academy rider to ride in the top tier and race alongside Rossi. Rossi also owns the Team Sky VR46 team which runs in Moto3 and Moto2.