"A decision made at the right time, and the story doesn’t end here. When I learned about his decision I told myself that he has been the strongest rider of all time", says Valentino’s father
A father’s watchful eye. A retirement - that of Valentino Rossi, that comes just ahead of the Styrian GP. A press conference that the Doctor requested in order to able to announce his departure come the end of the season. A decision that some saw coming, and that will see the Italian run his last race at the Valencia GP in mid-November.
In these cases, emotion takes over. The courage - or the need - to make a decision that can be put off no longer. But the emotion also gets to those who have followed you for a lifetime, who helped you take those very first ‘steps’ on two wheels. A chapter that a man like Graziano Rossi viewed from the point of view of a former rider but also with the watchful eyes and heart of a father. Caring and attentive.
And so we asked him about those times, the standout moments in the life of a son, a rider, a motorcycling legend, who will finish his story after 26 chapters and countless wins, defeats, glory and suffering:
"I got emotional - father Graziano tells us – there’s no denying it. Mainly because in that moment, after so many years, I admitted to myself that Valentino has been the strongest rider of all time… There… let’s say that I never wanted to think about it but yesterday (on the day of the announcement) I released just what he’s done. He’ll probably continue with another kind of racing now. The story definitely doesn’t end here".
How did you feel? Did you speak with Vale’s mum Stefania?
"If I consider the problems he’s had in recent races, I’d say he’s made the right decision at the right time. The problems with the bike and the team I mean. Yes, we talked to his mum and smiled a little. Things were said, but nothing particularly important I don't think…"
In making the announcement, Valentino didn’t appear particularly moved, not like certain riders in the past...
"He’s put on armour, at a time that is very difficult for a rider. It’s like when a man decides to leave the woman he’s crazy about – he tries to convince himself that she’s not the right woman, that things aren’t working. But that’s only a way to try and get through an episode that is, in fact, very difficult".
But enough about yesterday. From today, and for the next few months, there is still MotoGP. A half season in which to conclude an adventure that began in 1996.
Translated by Heather Watson