(Reuters) – Nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi was inducted into MotoGP’s Hall of Fame after the Italian put an end to his illustrious career of more than two decades with a 10th-place finish at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday.
Seven-times MotoGP title winner Rossi, one of the greatest and most charismatic of motorcycling champions, delighted fans with a few quick laps at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit but was unable to add to his 199 premier-class podiums.
The 42-year-old, nicknamed “The Doctor”, is considering a move into car racing after competing in Grand Prix motorcycling.
“I always think of this day like a nightmare, because it’s the end of a long career and I thought it would be in Valencia but in the end, I enjoyed it a lot so I have to thank everyone,” Rossi said.
“Everyone who has worked with me, the whole paddock, the other riders … it was an unforgettable day and I enjoyed it. It was a long career, and always a pleasure.”
Rossi, the only rider to win titles in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP categories, took a final lap of honour on Sunday to a standing ovation from the crowd as fireworks dotted the sky, before an emotional farewell with his Petronas Yamaha team.
A showman on the bike and off it, and famed for his post-victory antics, Rossi last won a MotoGP race in 2017 with Yamaha, in the Dutch TT at Assen.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)