Valentino Rossi’s legacy would be greater by retiring sooner – Stoner

Casey Stoner feels Valentino Rossi's 'demotion' to  the Petronas SRT Yamaha team will have the effect of diminishing the legacy of a spectacular career

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP 1200

Valentino Rossi would be leaving a greater legacy had he committed to retiring from MotoGP already and not been siphoned into a ‘demotion’ with the satellite Yamaha squad, according to Casey Stoner.

Rossi is understood to be just days away from officially confirming he will extend his MotoGP career but do so by exiting an official factory-backed team in favour of a (well-funded) independent outfit for the first time since the start of his premier career.

Even so, Rossi will still receive a full-factory Yamaha M1 on a par with that of Maverick Vinales and his replacement Fabio Quartararo in almost every sense, save for the colour scheme. 

However for Stoner, Rossi’s move to Petronas SRT still represents something of a ‘demotion’ in that it has come about as a result of Yamaha’s actions rather than Rossi’s had he been the one to call time on his career on his terms.

"I believe if he left the sport a little earlier he would have left a legacy, which he still always will," the double MotoGP World Champion told 

“But now he's showing himself to be very beatable... It's disappointing to see someone, who anyone would have wanted to be in their team and paid an absolute fortune to have him, now [likely] demoted to a satellite team."

Rossi’s decline in form has come in tandem with Quartararo’s unexpected burst onto the scene when he made his debut in 2019. With six pole positions and seven podiums to his name, the Frenchman’s newfound status as a potential future world champion forced Yamaha to act definitively to retain him, albeit at the expense of Rossi.

However, though Stoner still believes his old arch rival is among MotoGP’s elite as has a great opportunity to make his mark with the young Malaysian team.

"I think Valentino still has potential to get some great results and maybe push to some victories in the future, without a doubt," Stoner said. "You don't just lose it. It is sad to see him not necessarily threatening for the podium as much as he used to."