MotoGP show off the Red Bull Ring track in Austria
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Valentino Rossi has already cast doubt over his retirement, just weeks after announcing that he was bringing his 26-year career to an end at the end of this MotoGP season. Rossi has said that he would potentially like to participate on odd occasions as a wild-card or an injury replacement.
Such instances have already been seen this year, with Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow both competing in Austria. When the 42-year-old was asked whether or not that would be something he would be interested in, he didn’t rule out the prospect.
Rossi said: “What I’ve learned in my career is never say never.
“So at this moment I’ll say ‘I don’t think so’, because compared to Dani and Cal my problem is that I am older! But why not?
“I think that anyway I will miss riding the MotoGP bike, so maybe I can have a chance to try. For sure it’s something that I will miss deeply. So why not? But at this moment we don’t have any program.
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“For me, one story is to try the MotoGP bike in a test or in some private day. Another story is to make a race like Dani or Cal, because to make a race weekend is difficult.
“But if [I did a wild-card], I would prefer some good track for me like Mugello, Misano, Barcelona or Assen I think.”
Rossi announced that he was finally stepping away from competing in the sport on August 5. He has dominated the sport for multiple decades, winning nine world championships in the process, although the most recent of those came in 2009.
The Italian’s first GP win came 25 years ago in Brno, while his last came in 2017 in the Netherlands.
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Rossi developed an army of loyal supporters during his time in MotoGP with his exuberant nature and penchant for practical jokes.
Rossi also unsurprisingly endured several fierce rivalries with a variety of competitors.
Most recently Marc Marquez and Rossi were known to clash repeatedly when they were challenging for titles in the mid to late 2010s.
Max Biaggi was considered his main rival in earlier years of his career, with Rossi famously giving Biaggi the middle finger as he overtook him in 2001.
It is as yet unknown what Rossi will do full-time after hanging up his leathers, however in his retirement announcement, ‘The Doctor’ did give some hints as to where we can expect to see him next.
Rossi said: “I will still be a driver, I will race in the car, but I don’t know where because we are evaluating some things.”
What type of car it will be remains a mystery, although rumours have been swirling that the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters racing series.
The first Austrian round of MotoGP takes place this weekend. Rossi finished 14th fastest in the morning practice session and 16th fastest in the afternoon session.
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