When you talk about motorsport to a person who doesn’t know anything about the sport, they probably still know of VALENTINO ROSSI or have a bike with a VR46 set of stickers on it. The nine-time World Champion, Valentino Rossi made an announcement in the press conference at the Red Bull Ring ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix which left the motorsport world at a standstill. He announced that he will not be a part of the 2022 MotoGP grid as he has decided to retire from the sport at the end of the 2021 season which would be his 26th Grand Prix campaign. Let’s go down memory lane and look at Rossi’s top five races in his vast MotoGP career.
5. Rossi vs Marquez at The Cathedral of speed
One of Valentino Rossi’s best career wins came at the 2015 Dutch Grand Prix. The Italian rider who was missing out on pole in his races at that time, claimed his first pole in almost a year (Valencia 2014 was his last pole lap before that). Right from the start of the race, Marc Marquez was right on the tail of the Italian and the two kept switching places. Things came down to the final lap with the two riders making contact coming out of the final chicane. This pushed Rossi off the track but the 9-time world champion did well to rejoin the track and went past the chequered flag to win the Dutch Grand Prix.
4. From P11 to P1
In the 2006 German Grand Prix, a poor qualifying session put Rossi eleventh on the grid and no one thought he could ride through the field, especially at the Sachsenring. But the Doctor knows how to silence his doubters as he kept his title defense alive and surged through the midfield at the twisting German circuit to secure his second straight German Grand Prix win. This race victory also helped Rossi become the first rider to go past 3,000 World Championship points.
3. A penalty doesn’t make a difference for The Doctor
The 2003 Australian Grand Prix was a special one for Valentino Rossi. The first half of the race was a typically exciting Australian GP fare as four riders were battling for the top position including Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden and Troy Bayliss. Troy crashed out on lap 4 after missing the dryline and was knocked unconscious before being taken to the hospital. This incident resulted in a yellow flag and Rossi didn’t see the sign and overtook Melandri and was given a 10-second time penalty but this didn’t make a difference for Rossi as he kept pulling away from the pack and saw the chequered flag to win the Australian GP.
2. Flying through The Corkscrew
The 2008 United States Grand Prix held at the Leguna Seca circuit was an eventful race, especially the battle between Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, with the two riders constantly swapping positions throughout the race. Things changed from lap 23 as Rossi flew past Stoner after a mind-blowing pass down the corkscrew after which Rossi didn’t look back and held his position till the chequered flag. This victory gave Valentino Rossi his first-ever victory at the iconic Laguna Seca circuit.
1. The start of something special
First race wins are always special for any rider and it was the same for Valentino Rossi. The 1996 World Championship season marked Rossi’s debut in Grand Prix racing and it was a season to remember as the young Rossi finished ninth with 111 points in his bag. The 1996 Czech Republic Grand Prix was the race where he secured his first-ever pole and won his first-ever race in the 125cc class on his Aprilia after a thrilling battle with Jorge Martinez at the top. That day, the 17-year old Rossi showed the world what was to come over the next 24 years in the sport.
[Image Credit: Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP]