For the Last Picture Show on his home circuit, Valentino Rossi had chosen a helmet with a yellow heart. For this reason, perhaps, at the end of a Grand Prix that saw him take a perhaps unexpected tenth place behind his brother Luca, Italy’s national hero decided to throw it into the fans.
A gesture - throwing your heart into the stands - which is also allegorical for the end of a career that will come to a close in three weeks’ time after the last two Grands Prix, in Portimao and Valencia.
“Thanks guys, it’s been a long and beautiful weekend - said Rossi as soon as he got off the bike, and then added - there are still two races to let off steam, but I thought today was so good that maybe I won’t bother going to the last two races".
Rossi: "Don't desert the Grand Prix, there are lots of strong Italian riders"
It was a joke, of course, because immediately after Rossi added:
"We have a lot of strong young riders, we will have to cheer for them, and so keep following the Grands Prix".
An invitation not to desert the stands that surely will have pleased Carmelo Ezpeleta, who is certainly worried about the rebound effect that the retirement of the most representative rider of the last 20 years will have on the world championship. But it is too early to draw conclusions: we have seen many champions leave the scene, even if it is undeniable that Rossi, like before him only Giacomo Agostini, has represented an era.
Rossi: "I’m happy, I had a decent race. The best way to say goodbye"
"I'm happy for today especially because I had a decent race - continued Vale - It was the best way to say goodbye: starting from the back of the grid is always difficult, but I managed to recover, do some battles and finish in the top ten. I got emotional. I knew that in dry conditions I would have a good pace. Misano is my home track, 10 kilometres from where I live, we have been racing here since 2007 and I have won here three times… I hope the public remembers this and the fun, but even today it was a good day. I tried to have fun, because everyone told me, there was a virtual hug with the fans, but above all I wanted to have a good race, but it's not true that in the end I cried. I'm not against crying, it just doesn't come to me. I would have cried, but only because I started last! ”.
The quips, which only Rossi is able to find, in every situation, will surely be missed, while Vale will certainly remember his own personal 'Last Picture Show'.
“This last Misano with the yellow bikes was a nice surprise - the rider from Pesaro said again - I didn't expect it and I didn't know it. Normally I don't like surprises, but I liked the yellow of the bikes. And I also liked the Sky TV special with Graziano, mother Stefania, Uccio and all the others ”.
Everything ended by him throwing his helmet into the stands.
“Yes, I stopped in front of the grandstand and threw the helmet. It was emotional, and also receiving the award from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Di Maio, the President of Coni, Malagò and Vezzali, was emotional as well, like the Frecce Tricolori fly-over. I am one of the most famous Italian sportsmen in the world in history, and this makes me happy ”.
The only discordant note was the crash of his protégé Pecco Bagnaia, while he was leading the race ahead of Marquez.
Rossi: “I tried to hypnotise Pecco, to say ‘put the medium on’”
“I tried to make the same like in Aragon, I tried to hypnotise Pecco, to say ‘put medium, medium, medium’, but this time it didn’t work. Bagnaia had a fantastic season, but he made the mistake of starting with the hard front, otherwise he could have won. For me the hard front was too dangerous today. I tried to say it to Pecco, but at the end they put it on, and the hard front is like this. Unfortunately, in the last part of the race, the temperature went down, there was less sun, less temperature, and the hard front is like this – if the temperature goes below, the tyre gives up, you crash, you can’t do nothing. It’s a great shame”.
Rossi: "Yamaha's decision was the right one, but I would have liked to remain factory"
"Time passes and I honestly think it was the right decision for Yamaha to choose Quartararo, maybe not quite right not to have me in the team (he smiled bitterly) ... Fabio however rode well, made no mistakes and deserved the world championship ... Quartararo deserved it really badly, he rode very well, achieving results even where the Yamaha was at a disadvantage. He has always been strong, without making mistakes. The 2022 team, Fabio and Morbidelli will be very strong. Morbido also proved he can win, they will push each other. There will be a lot of work for Jarvis: Yamaha always tries to have two strong riders ”.
According to Valentino, the 2022 world championship will see these riders as protagonists.
“I put Bagnaia, Quartararo, Marquez and then Morbidelli in the front row, perhaps together with Mir and Luca. Am I forgetting anyone? Ah, of course: Bastianini… ".
Rossi: "I won't do any tests in MotoGP, they're boring, but I don't know how long I'll last without riding one"
Two more Grands Prix, before he pulls the shutters down, stops racing, changes his life, but bikes are like a drug: will it be possible to suddenly stop riding on two wheels? Valentino already has clear ideas about it…
“I ride a bike twice a week, always, and it's me who decides what we ride in the Academy, whether motocross, track, oval: I want to keep riding, that won't change. I will have to see how much I will miss MotoGP. No, I won't be a test rider because testing is the most boring and tiring thing in motorcycling, but maybe sooner or later I will miss the MotoGP bike and I'll try it ”.