On Thursday ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix, Rossi announced the 2021 season – his 26th grand prix world championship campaign – would be his last having elected to retire at the end of the year.
Over the summer break the possibility for Rossi to race with his own VR46 team on a Ducati in 2022 emerged after it transpired that the Aramco title sponsorship of the outfit did not exist – and therefore Rossi would need to pilot one of the Desmosedicis in order to secure backing for the team.
While uncertainty still surrounds the Aramco/VR46 deal, Rossi ultimately decided to call time on his racing career.
He feels the VR46 Ducati project is a good option, but believes he needs a couple of seasons at least to adapt to the Ducati – having famously struggled in 2011-2012 with the Italian marque – and felt “there is more risk” in the move if it was just for one season.
“I have an offer also from my team for next year,” Rossi said.
“An official offer! I think deeply to continue because I would have liked to have raced for my team and have my bikes in Tavullia with the team there.
“I think that we have a great Moto3 and Moto2 team there with a lot of people that I have known there for a long time.
Luca Marini, Esponsorama Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“For example, I have some mechanics that have worked with me on the 250cc so in 1998 and 1999.
“So, it would have been fascinating to race with my team but at the end I decided not to for some different reasons; I would have had to change bike, I think that it was a good project if you have two or three years but if you have just one season maybe there is more risk than the good things.
“So that is why I decided not to.”
Rossi admits he is “not happy” to be retiring from MotoGP given his passion for motorcycle racing, but feels he was ready for the decision now.
“Two years ago and also last year I was not ready to stop with MotoGP because I had to understand and try everything, but now I am OK, I am quiet,” he added.
“I am not happy for sure but if I make another year, next year, I would not be happy in the same moment because I want to race for another 20 years!
“I think this is the right moment.
“We have another half of a season where I will try to be stronger than in the first half and I will try to give my best but I think it is the right choice.”