Valentino Rossi is preparing to compete this week in his last Grand Prix with the official Yamaha team, with which he raced for 15 years.
Arrived in 2004 after four first seasons with Honda, the # 46 had at the time given a decisive impetus to the program of Iwata, until winning four titles in the first part of their collaboration. He then chose to take on a new challenge by joining Ducati, however the two seasons spent at Borgo Panigale marked a break in his performance curve, so much so that 2012 could have, he says, been his last season in MotoGP. . It was the renewed confidence of Lin Jarvis, head of the Yamaha program, which allowed him to restart the machine for another eight years.
“Sunday will be a special moment, because it has been a long adventure”, Rossi admits entering the Portuguese Grand Prix. “Our story is split into two parts and I have to say thank you to Yamaha for giving me another chance after my two years at Ducati because I was quite desperate. So it was decisive for me to come back to the team. Even though the second part was long, we won a little less, but it was still a great experience, with a lot of unforgettable moments, and I will clearly miss the team. “
“There were a lot of great times, starting in 2004 when we brought in our team and Jeremy Burgess started working with Furusawa. But what I remember best is when spoke with Lin Jarvis and he told me that he was going to give me another opportunity to come back to the official team at the end of 2012. I will always be grateful to him and to Yamaha as a whole, because that at that point I was desperate and if I hadn’t gone back to the official team, I probably would have even stopped running. That’s my fondest memory. “
This unprecedented Grand Prix in Portimão will mark the end of the career of Cal Crutchlow, 35, this week, and the departure of Andrea Dovizioso, 34, and Tito Rabat, 31, who have not yet announced a project. future although he has not given up on a return to MotoGP. Soon 42 years old, ten years older than the second “veteran” of this renewed field in the category, Valentino Rossi, will continue his career.
He will join the Yamaha satellite team for this, but with official support from the manufacturer. By integrating the Petronas team, however, he will have to give up a large part of his technical team and in particular emblematic members who were loyal to him since the start of his career in 500cc.