The nine-time Grand Prix motorcycle world champion is at the gates of his final MotoGP race at the Valencia Grand Prix this weekend as he will usher in the time for a truly glittering 26-season career.
The 42-year-old will contest his 432nd Grand Prix start this weekend with 115 victories – 89 of them in MotoGP – 199 podiums and seven top-class championships.
Rossi has been the main driving force behind MotoGP’s popularity over the past two decades thanks to his personality and track record and is proud of that fact ahead of his final appearance this weekend.
“I think the positive thing about my career is that a lot of people started following MotoGP to follow my career from the start and the sport got bigger and more famous in Italy but also around the world,” said Rossi, as reflected in his career at the end.
“It is easy to understand that in the course of my career I have become something different, something of an icon and that is a great, great pleasure, even if what happens on the track is more important for a driver, the result, All.
“But I think this is the best of my career.”
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Rossi attended a special ceremony to unveil all of his masterful motorcycles of his career before an extraordinary press conference was held in Valencia on Thursday afternoon.
The Yamaha rider admits it “feels strange” coming to his last race, but tries to “act normally”.
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“I’ve always imagined this press conference because it can get there, but here in Valencia it’s not a special place for me,” said Rossi.
“But it is, and I have to say it is a strange feeling.
“I try to act normally because usually the Valencia race is a good moment for everyone because it means that the holidays start after a long season because we will be there from March and everyone is happy, a little bit at home to stay.
“But from Monday you always think that it will be different, a different life.
“I try not to think too much because we keep driving the cars. [I’ll] Try to enjoy this moment because life will change if you are not a MotoGP rider. “
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