Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will switch to switch to racing cars after he retires from two-wheeled competition at the end of this season.
The 42-year-old announced on Thursday that this year will be his last in MotoGP, and that plans for the next chapter of his career are are already being formulated.
“I already said that I love to race with cars, just a little bit less than with a motorcycle,” he said. “I think I will race with cars from next year. But now, [it] is all in the process… not decided yet. I feel that I am a rider or a driver for life. So, I’ll just change from motorcycle to cars. For sure, not at the same level. But you never race for fun. If you are a real rider or driver, you race to be strong and for the win; [to] try to have a good result.
“At the moment I don’t know which cars, I don’t know which races. I’ve said that I want to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and have a lot of car racing around the world.”
Rossi has dabbled in a variety of car racing during his bike career. This year, he finished on the GT3-class podium at the Gulf 12 Hours in Bahrain in a Ferrari. He has also made three starts in the World Rally Championship, and had several tests in a Ferrari F1 car between 2006 and 2008.
In explaining his reasons for calling time on a 22-year career at bike racing’s top level, the Italian said that he was guided mostly be his recent results.
“I really decided in the summer break, because I wanted to continue when I started the championship but – like I’d said – I needed to understand if I was fast enough,” explained Rossi, whose most recent win came in 2017.
“Unfortunately during the season the results were less than what we expected. So race by race, I started to think.
“Sincerely, two years ago, and maybe also last year, I was not ready to stop with MotoGP because I had to try everything. But now I am OK. I mean I’m not happy, for sure, but if I’d done another year I’d be not happy because I want to race for another 20! So I think that this is the right moment. We have another half-season where I will try to be stronger than in the first half, and try to give my best.”