Valentino Rossi: “My first regret? That it’s finished… and being a d**khead”

Valentino Rossi begins life as a retired racer after bringing a spectacular MotoGP career to an emotional conclusion during the 2021 Valencia MotoGP

Valentino Rossi - Petronas SRT Yamaha

As Valentino Rossi begins discovering what retired life feels like following his swansong outing in the Valencia MotoGP, the nine-time World Champion has begun reflecting on his spectacular career.

An icon of his discipline that transcended the bounds of motorcycle racing, Rossi’s 371st and final MotoGP race came to its conclusion with a tenth place result in Spain, one of his better results of an otherwise difficult final year.

However, that mattered little as Rossi was given a hero's ovation on his final warm down lap, the Italian cheered on by packed grandstands of yellow-clad VR46 fans soaking up the atmosphere, as millions others watched around the world.

And so begins retired life, which will be boosted by the impending birth of his new daughter, who is expected in 2022. 

Looking back on his career, Rossi admits he is disappointed not to have secured an elusive tenth MotoGP World Championship, before adding he would have won more had he approached his younger years with the effort and dedication he had to show amid a new generation of rivals. 

"The first thing that I regret is that it's finished,” he told reporters following the rac. “I think it will be more difficult in the future, in the next weeks and months, and especially in March when they restart.

"What else? For sure I wanted to try to win the tenth championship but I cannot regret my results and the nine championships. I think that if I put the same effort of the last ten years into the first years, I could [have won] more than I won. 

“But I think it's normal that when you are young you are more of a dickhead! This is something you learn just with experience.

"But apart from this, I'm very happy and today was a great final."

Valentino Rossi emotional on a 'special weekend' 

A special weekend marked by numerous presentations and anecdotes about a career spanning 25 years, Rossi was pleased to focus on securing a positive result in his final outing 

"It was a really special weekend and I didn’t expect it like this. I was a bit worried about the last weekend of my career, because you always think about this moment for a long time and you don't know how you will feel, if you are able to stay concentrated on the race, or if you will be very sad and everything.

"But it was great. A great weekend from Thursday. I received a lot of surprises from the championship-winning bikes and also the riders of the Academy using my helmet was very emotional. And also great support and great respect from all the people from the paddock and also from all the MotoGP riders. I have to thank them. It's very important. It's not so normal I think.

"And especially it was a great weekend already from yesterday, I ride well and today in the race I was able to arrive in the top ten. So it means I close my long career with the top ten riders in the world. This is so important for me. It means a lot. And I can use this result for a long time, because I can say that in my last race I finished in the top ten!

"So I feel very good, also because after the race we did some serious party and we enjoy like we win the championship. It's something I will never forget."