Valentino Rossi should have retired already, says 500GP World Champion

Valentino Rossi can only hope to fight for 7th and 8th place finishes from here, according to 1981 500GP World Champion Marco Lucchinelli

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP

Valentino Rossi should have hung up his leathers already in order to preserve his legacy and sporting achievements, according to 1981 500GP World Champion and MotoGP Legend Marco Lucchinelli.

Coming off the back of a disappointing 2019 MotoGP World Championship season that yielded just two podiums, compared with team-mate Maverick Vinales’ two wins and satellite counterpart Fabio Quartararo’s six pole positions, Rossi future in the sport has once come under scrutiny.

As it stands, Rossi’s current contract with Yamaha expires at the end of the 2020 MotoGP season though discussions over-extending it or otherwise are likely to be beginning soon. Rossi’s previous new deal confirmations have occurred around March.

However, another high-profile figure in Lucchinelli has joined the ranks among those who believe Rossi is unlikely to return to the heights of his previous success with riders like Marc Marquez and a number of young up-and-comers taking him on.

“I think it would have been much better if Vale had stopped before,” he is quoted by Tutto Motori Web. “He can run up to 50 years, 7th or 8th he gets there every Sunday and sometimes he can even 4th, then maybe every so can a podium. The Rossi we knew fought for victories every Sunday. Something important has changed.

“On Marquez there is nothing to say, he is the great heir of Valentino. He looked at it, copied it and improved it. pity that it is not Italian!”

Who is Marco Lucchinelli?

One of Suzuki’s most successful racers, Lucchinelli achieved six victories during his 500GP career, five of which came in 1981 when he swept to the world title over Randy Mamola, Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene.

However, success was harder to replicate when he switched to Honda before an ill-fated move to Cagiva brought his GP career to an end and led to him competing in the first season of WorldSBK in 1988.

However, after one season and two wins – including one at the inaugural Donington Park race – Lucchinelli hung up his leathers to become Ducati’s team manager before turning to commentary for Italian grand prix coverage.

He is one of six Italian riders to hold a 500GP/MotoGP world title along with Rossi, Giacomo Agostini, Umberto Masetti, Franco Uncini and Liberto Liberati.

Lucchinelli is not the only notable figure to speak out over Rossi’s career, with the Doctor’s former crew chief Jerry Burgess suggesting the time has also come for him to move on to new projects