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Nine-time motorcycle grand prix world champion Valentino Rossi says he was “the first modern MotoGP rider” and “became a lesson” for future racers in the series.
Valentino Rossi’s career has spanned 26 seasons in the grand prix, having made his debut in the 125cc world championship in 1996.
The Italian has gone through all the major changes in the premier class since 2000 and has inspired legions of young drivers throughout his career.
In an extensive interview with Gazzetta dello SportRossi says that he paved the way for a few riders who moved closer to MotoGP after him.
“I was the first modern MotoGP rider,” said Rossi.
“I did a lot of things first, which have become a lesson for many motorcyclists today.”
“I started very young, but at 20 I was already in the [clase] 500cc and my path was followed by everyone ”.
“There are some things I did that everyone looked at.”
Despite turning 42 in 2021, Rossi still has hopes of extending his career in MotoGP beyond this season.
He currently only has a one-year contract in his pocket with Yamaha to compete with factory-backed Petronas SRT, while SRT boss Razlan Razali noted in the preseason that Rossi has performance criteria that he must meet before he discussions can be held in 2022.
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
So far, the 2021 season has not been easy for Rossi finishing 12th at the Qatar Grand Prix before finishing 16th in race two at that same circuit. In Portugal it suffered a fall.
Explaining what continues to motivate him, Rossi added: “My reasoning is very simple and I wonder that some people do not understand it, maybe my way of thinking is different.”
“I like the way I feel, the feeling, the adrenaline you get from winning, getting on the podium or just having a good race.”
“I’m fine for a few days. I like to have that feeling.
“I know very well that in the end time will have won, unfortunately for everyone it is like that, but I try with all my might to make it as difficult as possible, that’s all.”
“And that’s the only reason I keep competing.”
Rossi also revealed what he considers his three best seasons in MotoGP, highlighting the “battle to the death” with Max Biaggi in 2001, his first season at Yamaha in 2004, and his sixth title-winning season in 2008.
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“2001, because it was the last 500cc World Championship and therefore the last chance to do it: a battle to the death with Biaggi that was wonderful,” he said when asked about his best seasons.
Then 2004, the victory in the debut at Welkom with Yamaha. Sportingly the most beautiful ”.
“And 2008: for many people it was already over, [yo era] old. But when I switched to Bridgestones, I beat [Casey] Stoner”.