MotoGP: Valentino Rossi inducted into the Hall of Fame
Valentino Rossi is now an official MotoGP Legend after being inducted into the Hall of Fame during last night's FIM MotoGP Awards Ceremony.
The nine-time champion was surprised with the induction just hours after completing the final race of his illustrious 26-season Grand Prix career in Valencia. Rossi ended his 372nd premier class race in 10th position, just ahead of his original VR46 Academy signing Franco Morbidelli.
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Across the weekend there were several special moments to help celebrate Rossi's career. This included reuniting him with all nine of his championship-winning bikes, from Aprilia, Honda, and Yamaha. All nine VR46 Academy riders also wore replica helmets from Rossi's career, whilst all of the MotoGP stopped to pay tribute to Rossi on the cool down lap on Sunday afternoon.
There was also a crowd of over 76,000 people, wearing in yellow t-shirts and hats, at the Spanish circuit to cheer for their hero one final time.
Speaking at the ceremony, Rossi said: "I always think of this day like a nightmare, because it’s the end of a long career and I thought it would be in Valencia but in the end, I enjoyed it a lot so I have to thank everyone, everyone who has worked with me, the whole paddock, the other riders… it was an unforgettable day and I enjoyed it. It was a long career, and always a pleasure."
The Italian's statistics are incredible and whilst the word legend is often considered to be thrown around a little too easily, few will question the decision to give Rossi this title. At the end of his career, Rossi has a grand total of:
- 9 World Championships - The only rider to win the 125, 250, 500 and MotoGP titles
- 115 Victories - 12 in 125cc, 14 in 250cc and 89 in the premier class
- 235 Podiums - 15 in 125cc, 21 in 250cc and 199 in the premier class
- 65 Pole Positions - 5 in 125cc, 5 in 250cc and 55 in the premier class
- 96 Fastest Laps - 9 in 125cc, 11 in 250cc and 76 in the premier class
"The only thing I can say to Vale is thank you very much," Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta added. "It’s been amazing since 1997 in Malaysia, we saw a guy doing fantastic races but also very special for so many reasons. We started to talk with him then and since that time, everything we’ve done together, with everyone who works in MotoGP, it’s been amazing.
"First of all, Valentino has been an incredible rider, even yesterday, at 42, he was within tenths of Fabio. But also his personality, the situation he’s helped us to create, the Safety Commission, it’s something very special. These are all the words I can say. Grazie, Valentino!"
Rossi is the latest Hall of Fame inductee and joins the likes of former rivals Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, plus the late greats; Nicky Hayden and Marco Simoncelli.