The end of an era, and the beginning of a new chapter. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi has finished his final MotoGP race.
Having announced earlier in the year that he will be retiring from Grand Prix racing effective of the final flag of the 2021 FIM MotoGP season; Rossi's last ride is arguably the end of an era for Grand Prix racing, but it is also a chance to take a look back at the career of one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time.
Spanning an incredible 26 seasons, Valentino Rossi’s racing journey epitomizes Grand Prix competition at the very highest level. Synonymous with speed, talent, and enough Italian flair to fill multiple lifetimes, Rossi’s journey from young contender to nine-time World Champion is something every motorcycle racer would want to emulate - whether they would admit it or not.
Rossi was the youngest rider to win combined World Championship titles in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, and MotoGP, and has thrown his leg over factory machinery from Aprilia, Honda, Ducati, and Yamaha in his tenure on the world stage. Moreover, he is the only rider to win premier class titles on five different types of motorcycles (500cc 4-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc 5-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 990cc 4-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 800cc 4-cylinder four-stroke, and a Yamaha 1000cc 4-cylinder four-stroke).
Choosing a favorite record or moment out of a 431 Grand Prix race career in which he scored 115 Grand Prix wins (89 in the Premier Class), 96 fastest laps and 235 podiums would be a near-impossible task. However, in his 12 years with Monster Energy - since signing to Unleash The Beast in 2009, there have been more than a solid handful of epic and memorable highlights. From burnouts in front of the Eiffel Tower, dominating the Monza Rally, carjacking Kyle Busch’s Nascar, swapping places with Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton - it has been an incredible trip. Hit play to check out some of the highlights.