Boxing legend George Foreman is one of a handful of sports legends that retired and then came out of retirement at age 45 to win again. Mike Tyson tried this too but using biting as a tactic to try and win fights when his speed and agility had left him.
And here we have another. He hasn’t retired but many are saying it’s now long overdue – Mr. Valentino Rossi – the former king of MotoGP. This man is a legend, he has a fan club of millions, makes more money selling VR 46 merchandise than most of his MotoGP rivals are paid in salaries and endorsements and more importantly has won nine motorcycle world titles. One more than Marc Marquez.
Yet, despite all this, his form seems to have deserted him this season at the ripe old age of 42. Like Tyson did against Evander Holyfield when he resorted to biting ears off to make up for his loss of form.
Now granted, Rossi is not resorting to dirty tactics like Tyson did. He has a solid machine under him, which is currently winning races this season in the hands of Fabio Quatararo, yet somehow Rossi can’t seem to claw his way into the top 10 this season. His qualifying form is very dismal too.
So this begs the question for Mr. Rossi. Why and What is your purpose in 2021?
Its always sad to see a sporting legend depart a sport on a low, with his tail between the legs. Rossi deserves so much better. The Champ has endeared himself to millions, provided us with some of the most memorable races in history, and created legacy that will endure forever.
I must admit I am a Rossi fan and it pains me to see him languishing at the back of the field race after race. So this begs the question…? Should he complete the season, thereby robbing another talent of a ride on a competitive machine – such Franco Morbidelli – or is the solution to simply stop mid-season, walk away with his head held high and focus on mentoring his team and its riders for the rest of the season.
My vote is for him to depart now, gracefully, as much as it hurts to have to say goodbye to the greatest rider to grace the sport!