2021: Valentino Rossi’s final MotoGP season


At the end of our photo series there is a double pack: Valentino Rossi at the start of his 26th and final World Championship season and the big MotoGP farewell party of the “Dottore” in front of a home audience in Misano.

For the somewhat different annual review from SPEEDWEEK.com, we asked our photographer Fritz Glänzel to select the “Pictures of the Year” that were particularly burned into his memory when the shutter button was pressed. There was no question that Valentino Rossi, who ended his impressive MotoGP career at the end of the season, could not be missing.

“Vale is and will remain my idol,” revealed Glänzel. “I was allowed to accompany him with the camera throughout his career.”

The nine-time world champion and 115-time GP winner certainly brought more memorable moments to motorsport fans than one – and so we are also presenting a symbolic double pack at the end of the review of the 2021 season.

“Rossi in Qatar: What will 2021 bring for Vale?”

With fourth place on the grid, Valentino Rossi’s season started promisingly in the Yamaha customer team of Petronas SRT – also thanks to a little help from his model student Francesco «Pecco» Bagnaia in the first qualifying of the season. Twelfth place in the first race of the season was already the first disappointment for Rossi.

The debacle followed in the second Qatar GP: starting position 21 meant the worst qualifying result for Valentino Rossi since the beginning of his GP career in the 125 cc class at the 1996 Malaysia GP. The first picture above shows “Vale” in the last row of the grid at the Doha GP on April 4, 2021.

But it didn’t stop there: In his home race in Misano, of all places, the 42-year-old superstar started from 23rd on the grid twice.

“Rossi in Misano: The dottore says ‘Ciao’ and the helmet flies into the audience.”

The results would decide on the continuation of his career, Valentino Rossi stressed again and again – and so the superstar of the scene announced his retirement after only one top 10 result in the first half of the season after the summer break in Spielberg on August 5, 2021 at the end of the Year on. With 8th place in the crazy flag-to-flag race at the Red Bull Ring, he also delivered the personal best of his 26th and final World Championship season.

Despite the poor results, Rossi set emotional highlights on the subsequent farewell tour – for example for the 35,000 spectators, mostly dressed in yellow, who attended the last home race of the “Dottore” on October 24, 2021 at the Misano World Circuit named after Marco Simoncelli. Vale stopped in front of the Rossi grandstand on the run-out lap after finishing tenth in the Emilia Romagna GP and was celebrated. Fritz Glänzel photographed this goosebump moment for SPEEDWEEK.com (Fig. 2).

The nine-time world champion was infected by the exuberant atmosphere and finally threw the last special helmet of his MotoGP career into the crowd. The predominantly yellow design with the big heart, which, as always, came from the pen of Aldo Drudi, was intended as a thank you to his loyal followers.

One lucky fan was spot on: Michele from Fabriano took the unique exhibit home with her and then even received an invitation to Rossi’s Motor Ranch in Tavullia, where Vale left an autograph on his helmet.

The new owner has already announced to the Italian media that he would like to share the good piece that he will never sell with other fans. How he will do this is not yet known.

Valentino Rossi’s record in the motorcycle world championship:

1996: WM-9. on Aprilia 125, 111 points, a GP victory
1997: WM-1. on Aprilia 125, 321 points, eleven wins
1998: WM-2. on Aprilia 250, 201 points, five wins
1999: WM-1. on Aprilia 250, 309 points, nine wins
2000: WM-2. on a Honda 500, 209 points, two wins
2001: WM-1. on a Honda 500, 325 points, eleven wins
2002: WM-1. on a Honda 990, 355 points, eleven wins
2003: WM-1. on a Honda 990, 357 points, nine wins
2004: WM-1. on a Yamaha 990, 304 points, nine wins
2005: WM-1. on a Yamaha 990, 367 points, eleven wins
2006: World Cup 2nd on a Yamaha 990, 247 points, five wins
2007: World Cup 3rd on a Yamaha 800, 241 points, four wins
2008: WM-1. on a Yamaha 800, 373 points, nine wins
2009: WM-1. on a Yamaha 800, 306 points, six wins
2010: World Cup 3rd on a Yamaha 800, 233 points, two wins
2011: World Cup 7. on a Ducati 800, 139 points, no victory
2012: World Cup 6. on a Ducati 1000, 163 points, no victory
2013: World Cup 4th on a Yamaha 1000, 237 points, one win
2014: WM-2. on a Yamaha 1000, 295 points, two wins
2015: WM-2. on a Yamaha 1000, 325 points, four wins
2016: WM-2. on a Yamaha 1000, 249 points, two wins
2017: World Cup 5. on a Yamaha 1000, 208 points, a win
2018: World Cup 3. on a Yamaha 1000, 198 points, no victory
2019: World Cup 7. on a Yamaha 1000, 174 points, no victory
2020: WM-15. on a Yamaha 1000, 66 points, no win
2021: World Cup 18. on a Yamaha 1000, 44 points, no win

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