MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Should Rossi retire?
The nine-time world champ just had his worst season outside of his Ducati years. Many people think it’s time for Valentino Rossi to say goodbye to MotoGP. But why should he?
Ten years ago, when Valentino Rossi was already the old man of the MotoGP grid, he was worried about keen youngsters like Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner coming to get him.
“They are like sharks circling around me,” he told journalists during the 2009 Mugello GP. “If I am not strong, I know that they will eat me in one bite. They look at me with a little bit of blood flowing and maybe they think, ‘okay, now is the time’.”
Stoner retired at the end of 2012, Pedrosa at the end of last year and Lorenzo at the end of last weekend, while Rossi keeps soldiering on, now preparing for his 25th season in Grand Prix racing.
There are many amazing Rossi statistics, but here is the most jaw-dropping of them all: since world championship racing began in 1949 there’s been about 940 Grands Prix, of which Rossi has competed in more than 400.
However, 2019 was Rossi’s worst-ever season, apart from his two years with Ducati. During 2019 he took home an average 9.1 points from each race, against 22.3 points per race in his best season, in 2003, when 2019 rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo wasn’t long out of nappies.
So is it time for the 40-year-old to follow Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and the rest into retirement?
It’s a stupid question, of course. But there are enough people asking the question to address it.
Why do people think Rossi should retire? There are a few reasons: he’s no longer fast enough, he’s tarnishing his legacy, he’s upsetting fans with his lacklustre results, he should give up his ride to a youngster and on the way up.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.