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The day has arrived. The day that all motorcycle fans have been dreading for more than a decade and that many already believed they had given a slip. Because at the Valencia Grand Prix, the constant of these last 26 years of racing says goodbye to MotoGP, the rider who retired the generation that came to retire him, the legend. Valentino Rossi retires.
De Rossi has already been said. His fluffy and chameleonic riding style is the most studied in the history of MotoGP, his charisma is not even describable, and his controversies are so irreconcilable that, in sight, he is going to take them to retirement. Because Valentino Rossi's career ends in Valencia, but his legacy begins.
Finish Valentino Rossi's career in Valencia and his legacy begins
When Valentino Rossi made his World Cup debut the reigning 500cc world champion was Mick Doohan. And he only had two of the five consecutive titles that he would end up reaping. Eight of the riders on the current MotoGP grid had not yet been born, including Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir, the last champions, or Luca Marini, his own brother.
In that 1996 season Rossi raced in Malaysia, but on the Shah Alam circuit, he raced in Indonesia, but in Sentul, he raced in Japan, but in Suzuka, he raced in France, but in Paul Ricard, raced in Germany, but at the NürburgringHe ran in Great Britain, but in Donington Park, he ran in San Marino, but in Imola, and he ran in Australia, but in Sydney.
When Valentino Rossi won his first race in the 125cc world championship, there was still no Harry Potter, the next-generation game console was the Nintendo 64, Real Madrid only had six European Cups, Yugoslavia still existed and the best-selling album in the world was 'Spice', by 'Spice Girl'. It was another world.
Any motorcycle enthusiast who is 30 years old or younger, including this writer, He has not known a MotoGP World Championship without Valentino Rossi. It has been the constant for 26 years in which he has shown that, above all, what has moved him has been the pure love for motorcycles.
Rossi represents everything for the MotoGP World Championship. It is the pure biker spirit and also the professionalization of the riding, he coincided with Doohan in the paddock and now he does it with Quartararo, the one who with 40 years he meets Jim Redman in a newsroom and asks for a photo and later finances the career of Alberto Surra.
The arrival and explosion of Valentino Rossi changed MotoGP. He professionalized a world championship that was pure biker spirit to turn it into something more glamorous, profitable and safe without losing that essence. The merchandising, the '46', the televisions, the best circuits, the crowded stands … It all came from a small town in Tavullia.
From 1964 to 2021 there has been no season of the motorcycle world championship without Ángel Nieto, Kevin Schwantz or Valentino Rossi on the grid. Three myths that represent the three great stages that the World Cup has gone through during its recent history, always hand in hand with legends. Now Rossi is leaving.
The big question is: What will be the legacy of Valentino Rossi? For many years MotoGP had a figure, a kind of godfather, who was much more than a former rider. Ángel Nieto was the angel who protected the motorcycle world championship from all possible angles after his retirement: he had his own team, he was a commentator and he even collaborated with the commissioners.
His motorhome was the only one outside the teams, and it was the meeting point in the paddock for those who had been left with winning more after the race. Nieto's ubiquitous seal of quality supported the growth and development of the World Cup MotoGP until that fateful morning in August 2017.
And if someone was Nieto's great sponsored person is Rossi. In fact, the sons of the mythical '12 +1 'now direct the structures with which the' 46 'will maintain its stamp in the motorcycle world championship while having fun racing in cars. From myth to myth, from champion to champion. In Valencia Valentino Rossi's career ends, but his legend begins.