The Doctor retires at the end of a 25-year long parable of stories, triumphs, revolution in the way of thinking about MotoGP. But the future, thanks to him, is already ready. Also for this visionary ability he is the greatest
Now, after Valentino Rossi’s farewell show to racing, motorcycling is wondering about the future of MotoGP. Will everything be the same as before? Will everything be different? What will remain in the World Championship of the more than 25-year legacy left by the 9-time world champion from Pesaro, who was already awarded the title of “Legend MotoGP” at the post-race gala in Valencia? To close the past, what Max Biaggi said is valid: “Having had a rival like him gave more prestige to those times I managed to beat him, and vice versa having a rival like me has also amplified the value of his victories. Rossi retires, a part of me retires with him “.
Yes, Rossi has retired and all motorcycling, especially the Doctor’s fans but also his detractors, are losing a decisive reference to racing – beyond the swing of results – of the last quarter of a century. Rossi is not only in the small circle of the most victorious ever but he is at the top as the most followed and most charismatic rider. The fact remains that Valentino Rossi’s racing epic was the one with the greatest following of the public (in racetracks and in front of the TV) in all continents, with the greatest media coverage, with the greatest business, without which motorcycling it would be a niche sport again. Now, after the farewell, does MotoGP remain an orphan of Rossi? No, because Valentino remains the icon of this show-business motorcycling of which he was the main promoter and exponent: an icon not at all affected by an undoubtedly downhill career in recent seasons as demonstrated also by the increase in the number of his fans. Until the end, Valentino Rossi kept his popularity and appeal intact, both inside and outside the racing world.
reds in the gotha
In the history of great sport there are very few examples of great champions loved and followed by crowds even on their avenue of sunset. Rossi was the “dominus” of MotoGP until the last GP of 2021, superior to Marc Marquez himself, the Spaniard who was and remains the strongest rider on the track and the most successful of the last decade, and Fabio Quartararo himself world champion 2021. History, as often happens, is a teacher. In motorcycling, until today, the only rider with the legendary halo still unchanged, after 44 years from the farewell to racing, has a name: Giacomo Agostini, the emperor always firm on the throne with his 15 world titles who yesterday, greeting Valentino, said: “We are the only revolutionaries. I invented professionalism in motorcycling, he brought MotoGP to grandmothers and children ”. Not only. The Bergamo champion, in that motorcycling of the “Days of Courage” from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, certainly did not have today’s media support, but he had – in addition to talent, the victories, the sympathy, the star face of the cinema – an extraordinary aura of “lightness” that he knew how to convey naturally and that he has managed to maintain magnificently up to now, on the threshold of 80 years. Here, with due differences, Valentino is today on the same track as the legendary Ago, with the same contagious serenity in his smile that inspires confidence and cheerfulness, far from the tormented and tormenting attitude, on and off, of other champions of yesterday and today.
it is valid after agostini
Mind you, champions with great personalities such as Valentino and Ago, in addition to their personal appeal, off the track were meticulous preparers of themselves (physically and mentally) and of their racing cars and on the track they were riders of superb tactical genius, “tough” and “relentless”, leaving no stone unturned to achieve the result, putting pressure and “dismounting” the opponents before and after the race: only in this way can you become King of the forest. And on the other side of the coin is the other side of motorcycling, that of tragedies. Rossi, like Agostini, carries within himself the pain of the loss of friends-opponents: above all, Marco Simoncelli for Valentino; Renzo Pasolini, Angelo Bergamonti, Jarno Saarinen, Bill Ivy, Gilberto Parlotti for Giacomo. Another characteristic that unites Rossi to Agostini is that he ended his career practically unscathed. Regardless of how you think about it – in sport there are always those who praise and those who denigrate – Rossi was the true heir of Agostini, that is, the symbolic rider of motorcycling, becoming a symbol himself, like Ago.
Valentino will continue as a racer on four wheels but will not abandon motorcycling because, even after attaching the helmet to the nail, its emblem remains: a “value” that Dorna and the whole World Championship cannot and do not want to lose and which will indeed try to use also according to media audience and sponsoring companies. This regardless of the role that the former rider from Tavullia plays and even more so as owner of the VR46 Team that most of all will benefit from the name and role of Valentino in terms of image and visibility, continuing his mission to discover and bring up young talents. Rossi has already said that he will not be on the field and that he will also observe his racing team from above, not disdaining some tests on the bikes (Ducati) of his riders Marini and Bezzecchi. But, as you know, in VR46 and its surroundings “there is no leaf that Rossi does not want” so the Doctor will not limit himself to a virtual presence and role.
heirs of valentino
Last question: does Valentino Rossi leave heirs on the track? Valentino Rossi remains unique. The 2021 MotoGP has brought to the fore new “young lions” of talent, determination, speed: in addition to the confirmation of the “diablo” Quartararo, deserved new champion, the explosion of Bagnaia and the exploits of debutants such as Martin and Bastianini ( there is also Marini). To say that after Rossi there is no emptiness, far from it, if anything a possible transition phase to build the “character”, with the question about Marc Marquez, the 28-year-old eight-time world champion who despite being in precarious conditions in health in 2021 he still won three wins and a second place. Only he is the “Martian” and only he, in the golden books, can reach and overcome the Doctor, as long as bad luck leaves Cervera’s ace alone. Destiny seems to have given us his: in the general ovation and in the last splendid tribute on the track in Valencia of all the riders for Vale, the “great absentee” is him, the icy wounded emperor Marc Marquez, forced after an accident in training to skip Rossi’s farewell match for health reasons. So fate wanted to keep Valentino and Marc separate again.
Thus, after a 26-year career always in the spotlight, multiple victors in every category and displacement and beating legendary opponents, Valentino Rossi bids farewell to racing with 10th place in Valencia, turning in the race 244 thousandths from the reigning world champion : nothing, however, compared to his final bow. This is also a record among the many records of the Doctor of motorcycling.
November 16 – 12:24
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