Valentino Rossi ‘doesn’t give a damn’ about retirement chatter

Valentino Rossi will retire when he wants to retire...

Valentino Rossi

VALENTINO ROSSI will not be distracted by the growing commentary surrounding his future in MotoGP as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing spell of form.

The nine-time MotoGP World Champion has endured a difficult first-half to the 2019 season with Yamaha with a pair of podiums in Argentina and the United States his only eye-catching results amidst a run of races that also included three-consecutive DNFs.

Though the lacklustre results can largely be justified by the relatively narrow operating window from which the M1 excels – predominantly venues where balance out-performs top speed – Rossi has notably been overshadowed in recent races by his team-mate Maverick Vinales, as well as the three-time pole position qualifying rookie Fabio Quartararo on the sister Petronas SRT bike.

Somewhat predictably, the slip in results has revived the annual debate about whether Rossi, 40, could and should continue beyond his current Yamaha contract, which ends in 2020.

However, according to his father Graziano – himself a former racer – Valentino has not given the reports a single moment of his time and is focused on getting back to the front consistently.

"Vale does not care about those rumours a damn, because, as always, he does not read anything that worries him," he told Gazzetto Sportiva (via Marca). 

"He is in a great physical shape and I am not the only one that sees it, everyone who is close to him says so. It is not bad mood, maybe he is worried, yes, because there have been problems in recent times, but he is not unmotivated.”

What are Rossi’s options beyond 2020?

- Signs on the dotted line for another two or three years with Yamaha. Tthe sport, sponsors and venues will breathe a collective sigh of relief that the most valuable asset in motorcycle racing is staying on

- Retires to plunge MotoGP into a panic (of which it will of course recover) and give rise to numerous ‘the next Rossi?’ headlines the world over

- Launches his own MotoGP team. He’s had success on the side with his VR46 set up, while MotoGP and Yamaha would be keen to cash in some more of that asset quality. We’re thinking a joint-operation with Petronas SRT or…

- …becomes the brains (and maybe brawn) to set up a satellite team with Suzuki, the only major long-standing manufacturer he hasn’t worked with yet. 

- Opens a British Bulldog sanctuary in the Italian hills