MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
2020 was Rossi’s worst-ever season, and so what?
Valentino Rossi scored an average of 4.7 points per race last season but still loves the challenge of racing, so why should he retire from MotoGP?
Valentino Rossi probably doesn’t want to know this – although he probably already knows it in his gut – but 2020 was his worst season since he joined the grand prix circus in 1996. By a long way.
His 25th year in the world championships was even poorer than his two barren seasons at Ducati and his rookie 125cc grand prix campaign, when he was 16-years-old.
Everything that could go wrong for the nine-times world champion in 2020 did go wrong.
Yes, Rossi is 41-years old, almost twice the age of the 2020 MotoGP champion, so he’s not as fast as he used to be (of which he’s fully aware), but he was laid lower than ever by a below-par motorcycle, broken engines, crashes and finally Covid-19.
Rossi’s average points score per race – from the maximum 25 points – was just 4.7. Compare that to his second lowest-scoring campaign, his 1996 season, during which he averaged 7.4 points per race.
Even if we discount the two races he missed while at home with Covid, his average score stands at 5.5 points per race. Compare that to his years of pomp – the strongest seasons were 2002, 2003 and 2005 – when he raked in an average around 22 points each weekend.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.