Valentino Rossi, one of motorcycling’s greatest and most charismatic champions, announced on Thursday his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season after a quarter of a century in grand prix racing.
The 42-year-old Italian, who races with the number 46, is a nine times world champion with seven of his titles won in the top category.
Rossi is riding for the Malaysia-based Petronas Yamaha team this season but his form has faded, the veteran languishing 19th in the championship with a best finish of only 10th from nine races.
The sport and his army of fans will miss him nonetheless, the Italian still very much a crowd favourite with global recognition.
The only rider to have started 400 or more races, Rossi has 89 wins from the top category and 26 others from the junior 125cc and 250cc categories.