After 26 career seasons, the Italian rider started his final MotoGP Grand Prix. He took a nice 10th place in the Valencia GP before being celebrated by the rest of the paddock.
This time, it is indeed the end of an era. After announcing his retirement at the beginning of August, playing his last Grand Prix in Italy, Valentino Rossi crossed the line for the last time, after 26 seasons of a career that began in 1996. The Grand Prix of Valencia, final round of the season of MotoGP, was therefore his last appearance on a motorcycle. When his 432 arrivese grand prix (372 in the premier class), the Italian could not contain his tears at the time of leaving a discipline that he has embodied for more than two decades. And this arrival in the points (10e) allows him to finish on a good note after a very complicated year within the Yamaha SRT team.
But this year was quickly evacuated when the “Doctor” was carried in triumph by his team at the end of the race in a circuit full of Ricardo Tomo and in unison when singing “Grazie” Vale ”, the de rigueur hashtag on social networks since the start of the weekend. Because this 18e and last round of the championship paid tribute above all to the Italian legend, including the nine motorcycles which gleaned his nine world championship titles (1997 in 125cc, 1999 in 250cc, 2001 in 500cc, 2002 to 2005 then 2008 and 2009 in MotoGP) were gathered in the paddock.
Under the watchful eye of the Brazilian Ronaldo, who came to wave the checkered flag, “Vale” was able to measure his popularity one last time both in the paddock and in the stands, where the “VR46” flags were legion. A mark as well a signature which does not disappear since Rossi will begin his managerial career in MotoGP with his team VR46, where he will field his half-brother Luca Marini and another Italian, Marco Bezzecchi.
Celebrated all weekend in Spain, a large fresco leaning against the starting line was notably unveiled for the occasion, Rossi was never able to fight for a 116e career victory (89 in the premier class), no more than for a 200e podium (199 in MotoGP). But the essential was elsewhere for the 42-year-old driver, one last time in the center of attention, evidenced by the unanimous expectation of the other drivers to salute him for his final lap of honor. Where smiles were the order of the day, from the winner Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) to his announced successor Fabio Quartararo (5e, Yamaha), fresh world champion. While he was able to see that his popularity was intact, Rossi knows the future of motorcycling is in good hands.