Valentino Rossi ‘not scared of retirement’, decision coming very soon

Valentino Rossi says he won't treat the 2021 MotoGP season as a 'farewell tour', but says lockdown has given him a positive insight into life in retirement

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP [1200]

Valentino Rossi has reiterated he won’t continue on into the 2021 MotoGP season for the purpose of it being merely a ‘farewell tour’, joking that in many ways it would be easier for him to call time on his career without the presence of his fans.

The MotoGP legend is poised to confirm he will race on in 2021 by side-stepping into the satellite Petronas SRT Yamaha team, where he will receive full factory machinery akin to that of Fabio Quartararo, who replaces him in the works squad.

Earlier this year it was confirmed Rossi would be stepping down from the factory team at the end of the season to evaluate over the initial 2020 MotoGP rounds whether he will retire or carry on, but his plans were ultimately scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonetheless, Rossi has left strong hints that he will continue for another season, even if Petronas SRT boss Razlan Razali says he cannot approach it as merely a refuge for the Italian and that he will be expected to challenge for wins and podiums still.

It’s a view that Rossi fully agrees with, saying his targets remain lofty regardless of the team, adding that the current situation doesn’t mean he will move into next season to wind down as part of a farewell tour.

Indeed, speaking in an interview with BT Sport MotoGP, Rossi says that in many ways it would be easier for him to bid farewell to MotoGP this year without the spectators being present because he anticipates how much of a sad day it will be for him.

“I fully agree with what Razlan says about 2021 at Petronas, I don’t want [for it to be] a farewell tour as I read in the newspapers, for sure I will go to Petronas so I can be competitive, I can try to win races and fight for the podium.

“Sincerely speaking for me, during this COVID-19 situation [could] also a positive thing because when I stop it will be a very sad day for me personally, so I don’t see anything good. I don’t expect anything positive when I will stop, I just expect a big sad and bad feeling, so if I can do it like this without fans and people around, for me maybe it’s more easy.

“if I continue it’s because I want to be competitive and try to do some good races.”

Valentino Rossi: "No constant pressure for results..."

With a confirmation of his decision expected to come very soon, Rossi nonetheless says he isn’t ‘scared’ at the prospect of bidding farewell to the grand prix circuit after more than 20 years.

He says the lockdown measures have given him insight into what his life will be like when he retires from the sport and he admits he is enjoying his time away from the circuit.

“Now it is the end of May and in the next weeks I will make my decision and for sure everybody will know very soon. 

“Scared for me is not the right word, I’m not scared of stopping but I think that day or week that I know will be the last grand prix will be sad and difficult to accept for me. I love racing and it is my life for more than 20 years, but I am not scared.

“I have had a great lockdown, I have had a good time because I stay in my house and relax with my Mum and my girlfriend and my animals, I have had a good time.

“For me it was very strange because from 1995 that my life is around the world, so it was a strange feeling at the beginning but I like a lot my house and especially living without constant pressure of the result of the races. 

“This is a good feeling, so I can figure out my future life and when I will stop with the bikes. I can enjoy also when I stop, this is good and that I can take my decision more easily.”