“Valentino Rossi should retire, we want to remember him as a great champion”: this is what businessman and former F1 team manager Flavio Briatore had to say about the nine-time world champion during an interview with RadioRadio.

Briatore didn’t go into why he thinks Valentino is no longer as competitive as he was, but it is true that next year - in moving from the factory Yamaha to that of the Petronas team - Rossi will have a less high-performance machine.

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Briatore: "Age counts"

“I would advise Rossi to stop. You can’t stay there when you don’t even have a competitive bike”, comments Briatore. “At a certain point, age counts”.

The Italian businessman also referred to the longevity of Swedish footballer Ibrahimovic, who’s still playing at 39.

“The Ibrahimovic case is unique because his life is totally dedicated to sport. He never messes up. But it’s one thing to be kicked in the ankle, it’s quite another to race at 300 km/h and get the turn wrong, causing an accident, added Flavio Briatore.

It’s true that Valentino Rossi hasn’t won a title for ten years (the last was in 2009), it’s true he hasn’t won a race since the 2017 Dutch GP, and it’s true that his success rate has dropped between 2010 and now, completing so many races but winning ‘only’ twelve. But he’s never got a turn wrong at 300 km/h, causing an accident.

Who knows if or how the Doctor will respond to Briatore’s provocative “advice”.

Translated by Heather Watson

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