More than twenty years after beginning his career in the MotoGP World Championship, Valentino Rossi has put an end to his career in 2021…but the decision was made months earlier.

He revealed this himself in statements to Gianluca Gazzoli’s podcast, revealing that that particular day was marked by another news that would change his life. ‘In the last few years when I was struggling more, I also talked about it with Carlo, my trainer. We agreed: You have to race until you really can’t take anymore, so you don’t have regrets afterwards. There were a lot of riders who quit too soon. But they couldn’t stay away. They came back and messed things up’, began by saying the veteran, who was 42 when he retired. But when? Il Dottore then explained: 

– I decided to stop after Assen, I wanted to race again but I said to myself: Let’s see if I am competitive because I can’t come here to finish 12th. Assen was an important race because it is one of my favourite tracks. It is one of the tracks where I’ve won 10 times, so it has always been a bit of my home. Before leaving, I went to lunch with Francesca. She said: I don’t like coffee anymore, strange because I’ve always liked coffee, maybe I’ll do a test in the next few days. I told her ‘fine’ and left for Assen. While I was there, I didn’t think about her test. In the race I had a bad start, crashed, I was fighting with Enea Bastianini, I wrecked the bike. When you are in the gravel you say: If I need a sign to stop, it is this!

The moment was not easy but the day was far from over and the decision still had to be communicated to his partner, he explained, ending up surprised him by an even bigger news:

– Imagine my state of mind because it means giving up a life that you had for 25 years. Rossi returned to Italy knowing that his career was coming to an end, but he hadn’t told anybody yet. When I arrived I told Francesca to come out for dinner but she said ‘no, you come here’. I had the impression that she wanted to tell me something. It happened all together – I found out I was becoming a father on the day that I decided to stop racing.