In a sport like motorcycling, which from time to time must lower the age of permission to enter the World Cup because another talent has already come out earlier than the previous one, there is a maxim that, for years, remains in shape, lean, malleable smiling and firm as a reed: Valentino Rossi. At 42 years old, he has been hearing why he keeps running for a long time. He has the answer in another question: and why not?
«I don’t run to pass the time. I come from two seasons in which I was below what was expected and I want to be more competitive and fight for podiums in this one. There are many reasons hidden in this statement why you face your season 26, 22 in the queen category of motorcycling, in a different team in all respects, Petronas. Because, although it will have the same help as the Yamaha of Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo, it is still a satellite squad that returns it to its first steps in the World Championship, back in 1996, after so many successes in official motorcycles of factory.
However, while some observe that it is a step backwards, for him it is another episode to prove that number 46 defines him much more than 42, or 43. «I think I have been a pilot for a factory team since 2002, 19 seasons in MotoGP. My first two years in the 500cc were on satellite, 20 years ago and that motorcycling was another world, but I felt very comfortable. It means less people around the bike, you can think more about how to do it in the race than in the development of the bike. That may be good for me. In addition, this team has shown in the last two seasons that they can achieve victories, take the drivers to the top. I am ready to learn. Less pressure, more freedom to do what he likes. This past season was already seen, with too much suffering in training and with more than acceptable results on Sundays when the glory is distributed.
In 2020, with that express and exhausting World Championship of races every weekend, he did not have time to reflect or to see how his feelings on the bike were translated into results on paper. So his plan for the future will be consolidated during the first part of 2021. «For the summer, the mid-season break, and according to the results, I will decide if I continue in 2022. If I am strong, my intention will be to continue one more year. If I don’t feel that way, no. For now I have energy. When I stop, after so many years, I’m sure my life will change, but I want to continue being a pilot, “he accepts with the maturity and illusion of quarantine.
How not to do it if, despite not adding his long-awaited tenth crown since he stopped his account in 2009 – MotoGP 7 -, despite not being in the center of the podium since the Netherlands in 2017, in the 2020 World Championship he still had arrests to be third in Jerez, fourth in San Marino and fifth in the Czech Republic and Austria. And with a Yamaha full of ups and downs that neither Maverick Viñales could tame beyond an exceptional Sunday in Emilia Romagna. How not to do it if in the circuits, now empty, yellow color is mostly concentrated, if your truck is always the one that receives the most followers to get a photo or a greeting from your idol. “I have millions of fans all over the world and for a long time I have been entertaining them. I want to keep doing it, and for that I have to be strong, fight for podiums, make good overtaking. It is the goal: to have fun myself to amuse them».
In terms of both results and fans, he could live comfortably for years, without the pressure of risking his life every Sunday – as happened in Austria, when Johann Zarco’s motorcycle flew across just inches from his handlebars. Owner of seven MotoGP crowns, 89 victories and 199 podiums In the premier class, it also has millionaire marketing businesses that include many riders on the grid – for a while it also carried Marc Márquez’s articles – or even with participations in Juventus until 2019.
Formed the VR46 Riders Academy, from which several successes have already emerged under its banner: the Moto2 titles of 2017 and 2018 of Bagnaia and Morbidelli; The latter’s first MotoGP victory, with whom he now shares a garage. And presence in all categories with motorcycles wearing their colors. To complete the circle, your brother Luca Marini He makes his debut this year in Primera with a motorcycle that sports the Sky Racing Team VR46 on its chassis.
Here he continues, adapting to a sport that is becoming faster and younger. No brake. “As I get older, I need to work harder, especially the cardio: more cycling and more jogging to improve physical capacity. And recovery. Compared to before, there is more effort after training. It is hard to climb stairs“, Explain. He would not mind changing vehicles, to a four, to keep the adrenaline of the races when he closes his stage in MotoGP. But for the moment, in the Qatar tests, he posted the fastest lap of his entire career. “I am there”. No brake.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism