MotoGP riders pay tribute to 'Michael Jordan of bikes' Valentino Rossi

Leading MotoGP riders have paid tribute to the retiring Valentino Rossi, with reigning world champion Joan Mir calling him “the Michael Jordan of motorbikes”.

On Thursday, nine-time grand prix world champion Rossi announced he will retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 campaign after 26 seasons in the world championship.

Much of the current grid grew up watching Rossi race and have regularly cited him as their idol and reference in MotoGP.

Ahead of this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix, the paddock paid tribute to the veteran Italian following his retirement announcement.

When asked for his thoughts on Rossi, Suzuki rider Mir likened him to basketball legend Jordan in that he transcends the sport which made him famous.

"There was a question that one journalist was asking him, if he feels like Michael Jordan on basketball, and for sure he's the Michael Jordan of the motorbikes," Mir said.

"It will be difficult to repeat another Valentino Rossi in history.

"So, wishing him a lot of luck and hoping to see him in the next seasons around the paddock."

Listen to our podcast:

 

Fabio Quartararo, who replaced Rossi at the factory Yamaha squad this season, added: "It's hard to believe, to be honest.

"Rossi was already a two-time world champion before I was born and to think that he won't be with us next year is sad.

"Valentino is the rider who made me want to come to MotoGP, I waited hours and hours at the tracks to get his autograph when I was a kid, he is still my idol now and he is still a legend."

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Retired three-time MotoGP race winner Cal Crutchlow will be Rossi's teammate for the next three races at Petronas SRT as Franco Morbidelli's injury replacement, having been Rossi's Yamaha stablemate at Tech3 in 2013.

The Briton praised the impact Rossi has had on motorcycle racing, saying: "To come back is a great story and to do it as Rossi's teammate is an even bigger story.

"I've watched Rossi since I was a kid and I always enjoyed watching him race, when I came here he was at Yamaha and I got to share a lot of things with him.

"It was a lot of fun to be able to race with him, wherever you go in the world if you say you are a rider and they don't understand you just name Valentino and they quickly know what you are talking about.

"Everyone loves him and his motivation to go fast is unbelievable, his mentality is an example to everyone, it's been fantastic to be with him over the years."

Rossi's former Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales added: "For me Rossi was a reference point when I was a kid and I started to feel the passion for motorbikes when I saw him in his victories and celebrations.

"Sharing a team with Rossi gave me the opportunity to learn, he has been a reference point for me since I was four years old, but we have to thank him for what he has done, for being an inspiration and a motivation to continue.

"It has been a good fortune to share a team and fight with him, and especially in the events where we met in Malaysia or Thailand.

"Off the track he is a great person, he is at the top and he is the greatest of all time. It's sad, but he has won a lot and we have to be grateful to him."

shares
comments
Valentino Rossi announces retirement from MotoGP

Previous article

Valentino Rossi announces retirement from MotoGP

Next article

Rossi: Racing for VR46 MotoGP team for one year ‘too risky’

Rossi: Racing for VR46 MotoGP team for one year ‘too risky’
Load comments
Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha in MotoGP Prime

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha in MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Prime

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022.

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result Prime

Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021