It is difficult to even think about MotoGP without Valentino Rossi, but the facts remain that this 40-year-old star hasn’t won any races over the past two years. Add to this just a general poor run in recent events and the ever-present gloom of early retirement even before his contract expires at the end of 2020, seems like an inevitable truth.
A Poor Run
Not only did Rossi manage to score only just eight points during his last four races, but he also had three DNF’s in a row. This meant that he dropped behind Maverick Vinales, his Yamaha teammate, to sixth place. But it isn’t only in Vinales’s shadow which the once-great racer is currently performing in, but also in that of Fabio Quartararo. This satellite rider for Yamaha managed a couple of pole positions as well as podium finishes during the season in Europe.
A Long Career of Great Success
During the 25 years which Rossi has had the crowds in awe with his skill, he managed to get some records behind his name. One of these is being secondly listed for most Grand Prix wins in motorcycle racing. A total of 115 wins are behind his name. Also, did he became the only rider ever winning the World Championship in all four different classes. This was done over 9 World Championship wins. The first being for Aprilia in 1997 on a 125cc, followed up in 1999 again for Aprilia on a 250cc. Later on in 2001, after changing over to Honda, he did it in the 500cc division. From 2002 onwards he had a winning streak for a couple of years in the MotoGP division. 2002 and 2003 he did it for Honda and then 2004 and 2005 for Yamaha. He repeated this for Yamaha in 2008 and 2009.
Who does Will decide When It Is Time To Go?
Rossi already mentioned his thoughts about retirement at the Yamaha Monster bikes launch in Jakarta, earlier this year. He was then already referring to the fact that the physical challenges of racing are taking a significant toll on his body, that he is indeed competing against riders who are much younger than him and in a much better physical state. He was establishing the time of his retirement on how the 2019 season will go for him. Thus far, it wasn’t in his favour at all. Being contract bound with Yamaha until the end of 2020, his retirement will however not be his decision alone to make. According to Lin Jarvis, team boss for Yamaha’s MotoGP, this will have to be a collective decision between Rossi and Yamaha. Jarvis also mentioned that he believes that Rossi will most probably be the first to state it if he feels the time is ready to go, and when that happens, Yamaha will perhaps share the same sentiment. Hence, when this retirement is decided upon, no conflict should be present between the two parties involved.