Already a legend, Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) has been inducted into the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame and is now an official MotoGP™ Legend! The nine-time World Champion was surprised with the honour at the FIM MotoGP™ Awards Ceremony, adding to a roll call of celebrations throughout the day as he hangs up his racing leathers.
The emotional lap of honour after the race and hero’s welcome were only the start on Sunday, and those came after a weekend already painted yellow in the number 46’s honour. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta presented Rossi with the MotoGP™ Legend trophy on the stage, celebrating 26 seasons of history made and hearts captured around the world. Nine World Championships, 115 wins and 235 podiums across all classes are incredible numbers, but the legend is even more than those.
The Italian joins a long list of greats that have been made MotoGP™ Legends that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Kork Ballington, Dani Pedrosa, Stefan Dörflinger, Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez and the late, great Nicky Hayden.
Valentino Rossi, MotoGP™ Legend: "I always think of this day like a nightmare, because it’s the end of the a long career and I think 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."
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: "The only thing I can say to Vale is thank you very much. 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 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!"