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terça-feira, 8 de maio de 2012

Valentino Rossi at the portuguese GP 2012 - Estoril

Ducati rider Valentino Rossi expected to retire from MotoGP at the end of this season

Valentino Rossi, the nine-time world champion and arguably the greatest rider in the history of two-wheel racing, will retire from MotoGP at the end of this season, if not before, sources close to the Italian have told The Telegraph.

Valentino Rossi expected to retire from MotoGP at the end of this season
Greatest rider: Valentino Rossi, seventh at Estoril on Sunday, is likely to try four-wheel pursuits after a disappointing season Photo: AP
But a sudden turnaround in form remains far from likely. Ducati, which has just been bought by Audi, does not have the budget to improve the bike sufficiently to bring it closer to the front-runners. The race team is largely funded by Ferrari sponsors Philip Morris, but is said to be already over budget this year.
Privately it is felt by Rossi’s closest friends and advisers that now is the time to retire, before any lasting damage is done either to his reputation or more worryingly, himself.
At 33, the skills which carried him to nine world titles, including seven in the premier class, are on the wane and he is reportedly still being hampered by long-standing injuries.
Only his pride, and the thought that he could miraculously find himself back on a winning bike, have kept him from throwing in the towel already.
But The Daily Telegraph understands that Rossi has now told his inner circle — his father, Graziano and his manager, Davide Brivio — that he will not race beyond this year. His decision may have been influenced by the likely departure this winter of his longstanding chief engineer and mentor, Australian Jerry Burgess, for personal reasons.
As one of the most high profile sportsmen on the planet, Rossi’s marketability remains as high as ever. He is unlikely to go before the two American races at Laguna Seca in July and Indianapolis in August. Then there is San Marino and the chance to race one more time at Misano. By then it is only a couple of months until the end of the season.
Rossi, who set competitive times when testing for Ferrari a few years ago, is believed to want to try his hand at various four-wheel pursuits. Rallying and sports cars remain an option.

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