Valentino Rossi’s difficult situation in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship could bring his retirement date forward. The Italian pilot doesn’t seem comfortable with his bike and he is not harvesting any successes.
He has in fact given up on taking any title or on winning altogether. At this point, he would be satisfied with just being able to tame his machine and getting back some of his lost speed.
His Yamaha is not even the first classified out of the four that take part in the championship anymore. And whereas his working tool is giving him a hard time, others, such as rookie Fabio Quartararo, are loving it.
At the German MotoGP and after three zeros in Italy, Catalunya and the Netherlands, he finished in the eight position. His teammate Maverick Viñales, however, was second.
Things take a turn for the worst in France
Valentino Rossi had a brilliant start of the season with two second positions in Argentina and the United States, but he hasn’t stepped on the podium since. Then, from France onwards, his performance has fallen sharply.
Nine races into the year and he is sixth in the standings with 85 points, five less than Viñales who is currently fifth. The Catalan pilot’s victory in Assen and second position in Germany have increased the pressure on Rossi. Viñales’ success demonstrates that the Iwata machine is powerful enough to fight for glory.
A bad rapport with his bike
Beyond the cold numbers, Valentino Rossi’s sensations in relation to his M1 are not a great source of optimism either. As if in a rollercoaster, every time he finds a solution to a problem, another problem emerges. In sum, he is always taking one step forward and two steps backwards.
The worse thing about his whole situation, however, is the fact that he is not even sure about what the problem actually is. Valentino Rossi himself has acknowledged he doesn’t quite know how to improve his rhythm or the reasons behind the lack of it.
Could it be time to say goodbye?
Before this perplexing situation, it is not surprising for Rossi to be considering his retirement, something he mentioned to the press after his latest blunder in Germany.
“It’s only normal to ask certain questions when my situation is as it is. I confess that I’m asking them too, I started asking them ten years ago, so imagine now! -declared Rossi with a smile that hid his frustration -.
“I´m 40, not only the oldest but 6 or 7 years older than the second oldest” – explained the Yamaha #46 regarding how his age might affect his performance-.
“There are things that only I can feel and I’ll know when I don’t want to race anymore. A lot depends on the results, if we can’t solve our problems then continuing might become a problem” – reflected Il Dottore, acknowledging the fact that he would consider retiring if he cannot get back enough speed to be competitive.
Two years without a win
For a natural-born champion such as Valentino Rossi, the fact that it has been two years, from the 25th of June 2017, and 36 Grand Prix since his last victory, is just too much.
When he was asked about this and faced with the possibility of never again climbing to the top of the podium, he simply replied he has won 89 MotoGP races. Whereas that’s true, it doesn’t make much sense for a MotoGP legend to keep on competing to maybe just get into the top 5.
In any case, and despite his considerations, he also said to be determined to come out of the dark place where he is now: “I assure you that I don’t struggle to find the will to race and my focus and motivation remain unchanged” – he added, with the pride and professionalism of the great champions -.
Images: Yamaha Racing.