The MotoGP season 2021 ends next Sunday with the Valencia Community GP. The Ricardo Tormo Circuit is not the venue for the title decision, but the stage for a very special round, as it is the true end of an era in the premier class.
Valentino Rossi will drive the last race of his career. This means that from now on no one from his generation can compete. The Italian is so far the only remaining driver from the 500 era who has had one of the longest careers of all time: he reached the main class in 2000 and the World Championship in 1996.
Now there is only one older generation rider left: Andrea Dovizioso, who returned to the peloton in the middle of this year and will stay there until 2022. Apart from # 04, only Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia) will be in the peloton, making his MotoGP debut in the 2000s – he drove four races in 2009 but only made his full-time debut the following year and made his final return in 2012.
But it’s not just riders who make up an era in MotoGP, teams too. And in this chapter there are also goodbyes in Valencia. Gresini will continue, but after seven years of partnership with Aprilia, it will be a satellite team again – now for the first time in its history from Ducati.
Aprilia also ends a phase of its presence in MotoGP at the Valencian Community GP. It will compete in its last race in conjunction with another team before creating a full factory structure next year where it will keep its current drivers (Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales).
On the other hand, Esponsorama Avintia finishes its MotoGP trajectory, which started in 2012 and lasted ten seasons – in which riders like Héctor Barberá, Johann Zarco, Loris Baz, Tito Rabat and currently the promising Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini.
It’s also the end of the cycle for Razlan Razali’s structure, now known as the Petronas Yamaha SRT. After three seasons, it will enter a new era in 2022 as RNF MotoGP Racing and enter a new phase of its existence, in which it will bid farewell to Rossi to welcome Darryn Binder as Dovizioso’s colleague in 2022 – it remains a Yamaha satellite, now without the support of Petronas.