Everybody has said their goodbyes to you, Valentino. There was just one missing from someone who you hold very dear...
Here it is:
I can remember Saturday, January 24th, 2004 like it was yesterday.
Our first date in Malaysia.
I‘d been waiting for somebody like you for so long.
I was nervous, but it was love at first sight for both of us.
I knew instantly our relationship would be something truly special.
We had that undeniable once-in-a-lifetime spark, and all the pieces of the puzzle just came together.
I will never forget how we stopped on the grass in Welkom in 2004.
Just the two of us, realising that you and me together was right – and that this was only the beginning.
We won four MotoGP titles and 56 races together.
We brought joy to millions around the world and created memories to last a lifetime.
We made history, because we worked as one and brought out the best in each other.
You made me strong again.
You made me respected again.
You made me loved again.
Only you, Valentino, had the power to do that.
And I fully trusted you.
I wholeheartedly supported you.
I fought all your battles with you.
Only I was able to make motorsports exciting for you until the very end.
From our first kiss in the grass at Welkom to our last dance in Valencia this year, we‘ve been on so many extraordinary adventures.
And then there were our special trips to Laguna Seca in 2008 and Catalunya in 2009.
Nobody had moves like us in those days, did they?
Assen too in 2009 when I helped you win your 100th race.
It was magical!
I‘ve carried you for 16 years of your incredible career.
But you have carried me in your heart too.
From Mugello to Motegi, from Silverstone to Sepang and from Barcelona to Buriram, we‘ve always been there for each other.
I gave you my all, as you did me.
The one thing I will always treasure is our talks on the grid.
It was you and me against the world.
You and I were ’Ride or Die‘.
But, unfortunately, even the most beautiful love stories come to an end.
Valentino, you‘re part of me.
Part of my history.
Part of who I am today and who I will be long after we part.
Ours is a connection that‘s truly special, and I‘m going to miss you more than you‘ll ever know.