When we were younger, they looked forward to the last days of school. They were the ones where by now what had to be done had been done and only the bell was expected to start the well-deserved summer holidays. This is what Valentino Rossi is experiencing for a while, albeit almost in reverse, because he only has ten days left and then his career as a MotoGP rider will be over after 26 years full of successes that have made him a legend. of motorcycling.
After the crowds at Misano, Portimao and Valencia are now on the calendar, and the “Doctor” seems determined to try to finish with a flourish, attacking at least the top 10 with his Yamaha Petronas. Also because to stay “on track” and what at the moment allows him not to think about the new life that will begin on November 15th.
“Now we are, we are close. It’s like the last two weeks of school. I try to stay focused, because I’d like to be able to do two decent races, riding the bike well and giving it my all. That’s the best thing to do, so let’s start from here, day by day. Then staying focused on the races also allows me not to think about what will happen on Monday 15 November, when I will no longer be a MotoGP rider. try to give our best in these last two races, “said Valentino in the meeting with the media that opened the Algarve Grand Prix.
There have been no second thoughts about the choice of retirement even now that the end is really near: “No, I have to tell the truth. Once I have decided, I have never regretted my choice. We will have to see how it will go when it really ends, but I think that’s okay now. In fact, I’m pretty calm. “
This weekend we are back on track in Portimao for the second time this season, albeit about six months after the first occasion. Despite a crash in the race, the indications had been positive, so the Italian is looking optimistically at the weekend.
“It will be very interesting to race a second time here in Portimao. It’s a strange situation, because we don’t do two races in a row and we go back to the end of the season. In April my weekend was difficult, but then in the race I was in the top 10, even if unfortunately I crashed. So we will have to try to do our best to be competitive and hit the top 10 “.
Four wheels and GT cars await him for the future. Not surprisingly, yesterday he was engaged in a test at Misano with the Ferrari 488 GT3 of Kessel Racing. However, that was still a bit of a playful experience, since his brother Luca Marini and Uccio Salucci were also present, with whom he will participate for the third year in a row at the 12 Hours of the Gulf.
“Yesterday I rode with Ferrari in Misano, because in January I will race in Abu Dhabi with Luca and Uccio. This is a race that we have always done in recent years, mainly for fun. Unfortunately, the conditions were not great yesterday, but we are there. have fun and I didn’t go wrong. “
“Next year I will become a car driver, so the approach and commitment are different now, although we will still be racing this race for fun. Then I will have to figure out what kind of program to do for next year.”
For a more distant future there are already those who see him on a Hypercar or on a prototype, but for the moment Valentino seems to have his feet firmly planted on the ground: the primary objective now is to choose which championship to participate in and then weigh his. value among the steering wheel professionals.
“It is a very important moment for endurance racing, because the new Hypercar class is coming, which from 2023 will see all the major brands involved, such as Ferrari, Porsche and Audi. Next year I will definitely race with GT cars, but I don’t know yet in which championship. It could be the WEC, but also the ELMS or the International GT Challenge. But I also have to decide which car to do it with. “
“Once inside, I will have to understand my level as well. Of course I would also like to race with the LMP2s or Hypercars, but the level of the drivers would be very high in those categories, so we have to see if I can be fast enough to do it. We will try to understand that. Next year”.
He was also asked if he is already talking to some potential teammate, but as was conceivable, that will depend on the type of program he decides to set up, but above all on the brand with which he will do it.
“I have some good offers, but it’s a bit difficult for me to understand. As for the bikes, I know the championship, the paddock, the people inside the teams like the back of my hand, but here it’s just like opening a new book. My teammates will depend on the car I’m going to race with, but I think they will be top level drivers and good at teaching me the tricks of the trade. “
Finally, he also spoke of the duels that could be decisive for the fate of the Moto3 and Moto3 titles this weekend, but without wishing to bet on favorites.
“It is very interesting, because both championships are still open. In Moto3 there are about twenty points of difference and Acosta was impressive at the beginning of the season. In the second part of the championship, however, Foggia was very fast and is managed to recover. In Moto2 it will be a fight between two teammates, Gardner and Fernandez, who in the last few races was really fast but made a few mistakes too many. But I don’t know who to bet money on, I think I will only follow these battles as a spectator, “he concluded.
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
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