Love him or hate him, no other motorcycle racer in the world has garnered as much popularity as Valentino Rossi over the years. With hundreds, if not thousands of aspiring motorcycle racers all over the world aspiring to emulate the legendary racer, to say that Rossi is an inspiration to many would be a massive understatement. However, the hands of time have, unfortunately, pushed him out of his prime, and The Doctor hasn’t won a race since 2017.
Alas, on August 5, 2021, Valentino Rossi officially announced his retirement from the MotoGP once the 2021 season comes to a close. In an emotional statement in a press conference before the commencement of the Styrian round proceedings, Rossi discussed his future plans, as well as recounted some of his most notable career highlights. He also discussed why he decided not to accept his team’s offer to race in the 2022 season, stating that the team needs younger, more talented riders.
We’ve seen Rossi’s performance gradually decline over the past few seasons, largely because some of his competitors are half his age, and the fact of the matter is he isn’t getting any younger. So, what could The Doctor be dabbling in next? Well, it looks like he could be making an appearance in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. In a story published by Italian motoring publication, Moto.It, Gerhard Berger, former Ferrari Formula1 driver, has been in talks with Rossi to have him enter the championship. The DTM will be racing alongside GT3 cars starting this year, so it’s sure to provide an added spectacle for racing fans.
“I will still be a driver, I will race in the car, but I don't know where because we are evaluating some things,” Rossi stated during the press conference when he announced his retirement. It’s also interesting to note that Rossi has had some experience behind the wheel of GT3 race cars, as he has participated in a few endurance races in the past. Gerard Berger, chairman of ITR, the promoter of DTM, told Speedweek, “In the past Valentino was our guest. On that occasion it was a sporadic promotional event, but we parted ways with the promise that when he decided to stop riding the bikes he would think about our championship".
It will definitely be interesting to see how the world’s most popular motorcycle racer will fare in four-wheeled racing. It has long been believed that being a good motorcycle rider improves your driving skills. We’ll have to wait and see if this is the case for Rossi, and if he can stack up against seasoned racers in the Touring Car championship.