Valentino Rossi finishes his career, victory of Francesco Bagnaia

Italian Francesco Bagnaia won the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday 14 November, which will go down in MotoGP history when the last race of his mentor, the legend Valentino Rossi, retired at the age of 42.

After a 432e Grand Prix in all world categories since 1996, completed at 10e anecdotal place, the nine-time world champion said goodbye to his sport, having made him grow to the point of embodying him like no other rider. The Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), 5 years olde On Sunday, after winning his first world title in two races, the party was for Rossi this weekend.

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It is true that Rossi, degraded this season to the Yamaha SRT satellite team, did not achieve the miracle of climbing the podium for the first time in 2021, not improving his record of 199 podiums in the queen category. Season 18 endede, his worst result in twenty-six seasons worldwide. But that didn’t matter to his thousands of fans who came to see the idol’s latest tricks (76,226 viewers).

His number 46 was everywhere: in the helmets of his disciples “Pecco” Bagnaia – world vice-champion and winner of his 4e GP of the Year Sunday -, Franco Morbidelli or Luca Marini (his half-brother). In the full stands that make the Ricardo-Tormo circuit a stage, its number and initials, forming the lucrative brand “VR46”, floated on the yellow flags treading under the Spanish autumn sun.

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Even on the final odometer of his kilometers we find his fetish with 46,000 kilometers traveled in the race for “Vale”. In the paddock, the nine bikes of his titles had been enthroned side by side since Thursday, when he rode them for the photo and to remember the good memories of his domain (1997 in 125 cm3, 1999 in 250 cm3, 2001 in 500 cm3). , 2002 to 2005 then 2008 and 2009 in MotoGP).

More than 76,000 spectators came to see the idol’s final laps on Sunday 14 November at the Valence Grand Prix.

At the starting line, near a cool urban art giant showing the portrait of the smiling “Dottore,” Rossi began 10e. In racing, he has never been able to compete with the best.

“Thanks Vale”

Jorge Martin (Ducati-Pramac) and Jack Miller (Ducati) completed the podium of this 18e Grand Prix of the season, ahead of the 2020 champions Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Quartararo 2021. The checkered flag, waved by former Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, passed, the drivers stopped to pay their last respects to Rossi, while lighting the fireworks in broad daylight, a Valencian specialty.

Back in the garage, the Italian with 89 victories in the queen category got on his bike raising his arms, for the last time with the monkey, to thank the audience, the unanimous cries of the “Thank you, okay!”. Next year, those who want to try out for car racing will continue to be present at MotoGP with the arrival of the VR46 structure as the Ducati satellite team.

The other MotoGP character Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda), who dominated Rossi in the 2010s, did not attend the march of his former rival, having retired as in the previous Portuguese GP.

After an accident during an off-road training, the six-time Spanish MotoGP world champion suffered a concussion and has since suffered from diplopia (double vision). A new blow for those who missed the entire 2020 season after a humerus fracture.

His teammate and compatriot Pol Espargaró also retired after a serious accident on Saturday, which left Repsol Honda without drivers on Sunday.

The world with AFP

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