Valentino Rossi, 2021

Hamilton, Norris and Sainz hail “living legend” Valentino Rossi before his final race

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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[raceweekendpromotion]Formula 1 drivers heaped praise on seven-times motorbike world champion Valentino Rossi ahead of his final race in the series this weekend.

Rossi’s Moto GP career spanned two decades and 339 races, yielding 115 victories. It will conclude this weekend at the season finale at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

Fellow seven-times champion Lewis Hamilton said the Moto GP rider is arguably the best rider the sport has ever seen.

“It’s obviously sad to see Vale stopping, but I think his drive, his approach, everything he’s done has been incredible,” said Hamilton. “The passion that he’s had, for so long, has shown through and [he’s] just such a legend. One of the greatest to ever do it, if not the greatest to have ever done it.

“So it will just be sad to not be watching the races and seeing him just ride in style as he usually does. But I think it’s a beautiful time for him, also, because he’s got family now, [that] he’s growing or starting to build.”

Hamilton shared the Ricardo Tormo circuit with Rossi for a day in 2019 where they exchanged machinery: Hamilton sampled Rossi’s Yamaha M1 Moto GP bike and Rossi drove the 2017 Mercedes W08 F1 car. “I’m grateful I’ve had the privilege to share a really special day with him on track,” Hamilton added. “I’ll always remember that.”

Lando Norris, was born just three years before Rossi’s Moto GP debut, is a lifelong fan and his helmet design was originally based on Rossi’s. “It’s sad times,” said Norris, “I’m going to get a miss him, I still try and watch as many Moto GP races as I can.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Monza, 2019
Norris wore a Rossi tribute helmet at Monza in 2019
“He was the guy I watched when I was four, five, six years old, got me into racing, got me onto a motorbike first,” said Norris, who first wanted to be a motorbike racer before discovering karting. “He’s been the guy that I’ve looked up to, the guy who’s kind of helped me get to this position where I am, because probably without watching him, my ambition of being a racing driver wouldn’t have been so high.”

Norris said he had been “lucky” to have met Rossi at the 2019 British Moto GP round. “I’m going to miss him in Moto GP, I don’t think it’s just me. I think there’s millions of fans that support him that are also I was going to miss him being in the paddock.

“And his character, because I think that’s one of the best things about him is the guy he is, the character he is amongst people, amongst fans, he has time for everyone. I think he’s a special guy and he’s definitely going to be missed.”

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Valentino Rossi, 2021
Rossi will bid farewell after seven titles and 115 wins
Rossi also tested Ferrari Formula 1 cars on several occasions and the team hoped to run him in an F1 race at one stage.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jnr, described him as “a living legend of motorsports in general and Moto GP – everyone who follows Moto GP probably partly followed it thanks to Valentino Rossi.

“He has a bit of history with Ferrari, [testing] and making it close to racing in Formula 1. I heard that now he really likes rallying so I guess we’ll see him doing some rallies and maybe I can meet him in a rally car, I wouldn’t mind.”

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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4 comments on “Hamilton, Norris and Sainz hail “living legend” Valentino Rossi before his final race”

  1. He is/was the Richard Petty, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Loeb of Moto GP. Only Giacomo Agostini can be compared to him.

    1. More like Petty, Schumacher and Loeb were the Rossi’s of their respective formulae.


    2. Emotional weekend for sure seeing the doctor ride his MotoGP bike for the last time. End of an era…

  2. He has had such a torrid season that we start to forget just how competitive he was and for how long. We won’t ever see a motogp champion as tall as he is. Motogp is great but it has come to it’s limit, the bikes are incredible, lean angles are often at 62°. Performance between riders looks to have become weight and centre of gravity limited. moto2 and moto3 already have weight limits, if motogp does not adopt a weight limit including rider then it is going to become horse racing, might be a good idea to call pedrosa back.

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