Valentino Rossi's long farewell to his fans would have been a bit melancholic, with the Italian multiple champion finishing seventeenth 34 seconds behind the winner - his protégé Pecco Bagnaia – were it not for the ironic streak of the man from Pesaro. Vale, in fact, was able to elicit a smile from us yesterday in the story of what was undoubtedly a difficult race for him.
"Yesterday's crash made me start 23rd, then at turn 4 there were some contacts and confusion and at the end of the lap I found myself last. The pace, however, was decent, so I recovered, I overtook Dovizioso, Oliveira, Morbidelli, Petrucci, so much so that at a certain point crossing the finish line I expected to read P3 on the board… given the riders I had passed, but instead I was only 19th… ”.
What can you say to a rider who, after 9 titles, manages to joke about a disappointing present but who cannot make people forget the past?
"The fact is that in these races in the rear it is more difficult than staying in front - continued Rossi - The starting position made me lose a lot of time, but it was just as nice to see so many fans, whom I thank for their support. I wanted to give them a better race and I tried so hard that on Saturday I went down twice… for the riders, racing in front of the fans is life changing. When we raced in empty circuits I was wondering, why?”.
Meanwhile, time continues to pass, imperturbable to human affairs. The clock does not stop, the hands are turning and there are still only four Grands Prix to go to the end of a world championship that today sees Quartararo and Bagnaia fighting it out for the title.
"I didn't follow Pecco's race on the big screen, here in Misano there aren't any visible, but I saw him cheering in the lap of honour. Aragon’s victory unlocked him, even mentally, too bad he lost so many points at the start. It would have been a fight with Quartararo until the end ”.
Actually, even if it’s going to be difficult, there is still hope for Pecco and Ducati…
"Italy in MotoGP is in a good situation, even without me and this is positive - analyses Rossi - Pecco will fight for the world championship next year and he is doing it again in this one. Then in 2022 there will also be Morbidelli, with my brother Luca and Bezzecchi on the track, even if his entry into the MotoGP team is not yet official. And then there is Bastianini: he is not our rider, but he rides like a devil and at Misano he also set the fastest lap. He will have a great future”.
Valentino knows Bagnaia very well. The two often ride together in Misano with their respective road super sports bikes.
“Yes, we lap together, Pecco rides strong with the Panigale, Luca is fast too. The Ducati is faster than the R1, but in the last year Bagnaia has raised his riding to a higher level. "
This is also due to the Academy, undoubtedly…
"Today was a good day for the guys from the Academy: there was a double podium with Antonelli and Migno. I'm happy for both of them, especially for Migno, he needed it, then with the orange wig he looked good on the podium ... And then there was this second consecutive victory for Pecco, and the two pole positions. Moreover, two victories won by leading the race from start to finish. If I feel them mine as well? No, we don't feel it is our victory, but we are proud to have taken him from Moto3, and when we ask him something he is always ready to respond ”.
In just one day Vale will be back on track for the two days of testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“But I will do only one day of testing because we have nothing to test! I will work on the balance of the bike and on the tyres, to prepare for Austin. We will meet up again here for Misano 2, but on a difficult date: at the end of October, it could be very cold or it could rain or it could even be a beautiful day. We will have to be lucky. The next race, on the other hand, will be in Austin which is a track that I like ”.
This will continue the long farewell of the most successful Italian rider of the last twenty years.
"On the one hand, it's beautiful, it is very emotional: the last lap here was also fantastic. In my long career I have had incredible support, it is really moving. They never abandoned me, even in hard times. I'm sorry for the fans because I'd like to be more competitive… I'm doing my best… I'm sorry, I'm sorry - Rossi repeats twice and there is only one conclusion - it's wonderful to see all that yellow ”.