SPIELBERG, Austria – Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season.
Rossi, currently in the midst of his 21st MotoGP season, made the news official prior to the Grand Prix of Styria at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.
“I said I would take a decision for next year after the summer break, and I decided to stop at the end of the season,” Rossi said. “Unfortunately this will be my last half season as a MotoGP rider. And it’s difficult, it’s a very sad moment because it’s difficult to say and know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle, I’ve done that for I think more or less 30 years.”
The 42-year-old Italian is widely considered one of the greatest Grand Prix motorcycle competitors ever. Prior to advancing to the top level of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Rossi won the 125cc championship in 1997 and the 250cc championship in ’99.
Rossi made the jump to the 500cc class in 2000 with Aprilia, winning twice en route to a runner-up finish in the championship during his rookie season. He made the switch to Honda the following season, a move that paid off with 11 victories and the class championship.
The 500cc class was replaced by MotoGP in 2002, but Rossi continued his winning ways in the new top division. He won four-straight MotoGP titles, two with Honda and two more after switching to Yamaha.
After championship finishes of second and third in 2006 and ’07, Rossi was back in championship form in 2008. He claimed the 2008 and ’09 championships while riding for Yamaha, his final championships in MotoGP competition.
Rossi made the switch from Yamaha to Ducati in 2011, but was back with Yamaha by the 2013 season after two winless years with Ducati. From 2014 to ’16 Rossi finished runner-up in the MotoGP standings, twice to Marc Marquez and once to then teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
He captured what, to date, was his final MotoGP triumph during the Dutch TT in 2017. He departed the factory Yamaha team at the conclusion of the 2020 season, joining Petronas Yamaha SRT for the 2021 season.
To date, Rossi has earned 89 MotoGP triumphs, 199 podiums and 55 pole positions.
Following his retirement, Rossi plans to shift his focus to his own Aramco Racing Team VR46 team, that is set to compete in MotoGP next season with Ducati power.