Valentino Rossi After Jerez - Is The End Really Nigh?

There comes a time in every racer's career that they have to ask themselves if it is time to stop. It is a question they invariably spend a long time giving the wrong answer to; the life of an elite athlete means they always travel more in hope than in expectation. But sometimes that hope is justified: they find the speed they were missing. The setback was not their fault, but down to circumstances. But proving the reverse, that circumstances won't ride in on a white horse to save them, takes a very long time to accept.

Last July, Valentino Rossi found himself on the podium at Jerez, after a strong race and a solid weekend. The Italian was never outside the top three after the first lap of the race, and was only outside the top eight in practice twice, in FP4 and the warmup on Sunday morning.

Catching Covid-19, which forced him to miss the two races in Aragon, as well as Friday at the first race in Valencia, stopped his 2020 season in its tracks. The then factory Yamaha rider only finished inside the top ten once in any session of practice or the race throughout the remainder of 2020, an eighth place in FP3, his first session since returning.

2021 has been no kinder. Rossi started off on a reasonable footing at the first race in Qatar, finishing ninth in FP1 and FP2, and qualifying fourth on the grid for the race. But he could manage only a twelfth place finish. It has been downhill since then. He has only been inside the top ten once since that first round, a ninth spot in FP3 at the second round in Qatar. For the most part, Rossi has been around the 15th spot or worse.

Rock bottom

Jerez was perhaps the nadir of his season so far. His best position all weekend was fifteenth in FP3. All too often, Rossi was around twentieth place, and a mere shadow of the rider who snagged a podium at the Andalusian circuit in 2020. After four races, Rossi has a total of just 4 points, all of them scored in the first race of the 2021 season.

Much was made of the fact that Rossi was just a tenth slower than his 2020 race time, despite finishing the race in seventeenth spot, behind his rookie half brother Luca Marini. But those making the comparison missed the point. The comparison that should be made is not with 2020, races which were held in the searing heat of an Andalusian summer. A better comparison is with 2019, when the race was held at the same time of year, and with very similar air and track temperatures.

Compare times between 2019 and 2021 and you see just how much trouble Rossi is really in. In 2019, when Valentino Rossi finished the race in a relatively respectable sixth place, behind Marc Márquez, Alex Rins, and Monster Energy Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales, as well as the two factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, Rossi completed the 25 laps of the Jerez race in a time of 41:16.232. Two years later, the Italian had lost 12 seconds, taking 41:28.333 to cover the same distance.

Only one rider of the ten riding for the same manufacturer in 2019 and 2021 was slower in this year's race than in 2019. That was Alex Rins, and the only reason Rins lost so much time was because he crashed on the third lap and rejoined the race. Marc Márquez, who won the 2019 race, was 7.4 seconds slower in 2021 than in the year he won, but then this is Márquez' second race back after a year off with injury, and the Repsol Honda rider is a long way from full fitness. Takaaki Nakagami was 10 seconds faster in 2021, Aleix Espargaro 13.3 seconds, and Miguel Oliveira nearly 30 seconds quicker this year, a sign of just how far the KTM has come in the intervening period.

Rider 2019 race time 2021 race time Difference
Miguel Oliveira 41:50.255 41:20.368 -29.887
Aleix Espargaro 41:24.116 41:10.766 -13.350
Takaaki Nakagami 41:18.959 41:08.808 -10.151
Franco Morbidelli 41:16.913 41:08.118 -8.795
Tito Rabat 41:37.198 41:35.916 -1.282
Maverick Viñales 41:11.128 41:11.253 0.125
Stefan Bradl 41:22.087 41:22.845 0.758
Marc Márquez 41:08.685 41:16.096 7.411
Valentino Rossi 41:16.232 41:28.333 12.101
Alex Rins 41:10.339 41:43.836 33.497

The signs are not good for Rossi. Rossi was the last of the Yamahas – now his habitual position – and finished 4 seconds behind Fabio Quartararo, who rode the second half of the race with arm pump after getting off to a flying start. At no point has Rossi looked truly competitive in 2021. So far, respectable has been the best he can hope for, and those results have been few and far between.

Rossi himself has been the first to admit his predicament. "It has been a difficult start because I am not fast enough," the Petronas Yamaha rider said after the race. "We have a problem with the setting of the bike and I am not able to ride at the maximum. We have to find the technical way to improve this type of problem and for try to be stronger and bring the bike to the limit."

Rossi was at a loss to explain his loss of form, and why he had been competitive last year but not in 2021. "I don’t know, sincerely, because on paper we are very similar. We tried the bike like last year, but it is not exactly like last year though on paper it just has to be a bit better. For some reason I suffer more and I was slower than last year," Rossi told us. He didn't even have the tires to blame. "The tires from last year are also more or less the same, but we are not able to find the same grip."

Rossi felt he had taken a step backward, he explained. "Also for us it is a question mark, but it is true that in MotoGP everything changes very quickly and from one year to the other. A lot of performance changes and everybody tries to make things better but sometimes it is not possible." Although they remain polite on the record, off the record, the other riders are starting to wonder whether Rossi can turn things around. "What is this guy doing here?" is a commonly heard question.

Does all this point to it being time for Valentino Rossi to change his answer to the question of whether to continue? The Italian is not quite ready to give up yet. "We have to be optimistic and keep the motivation high and do everything possible to be stronger."

Rossi put in the work at the test on the Monday after the race at Jerez. He clocked up a total of 73 laps during the test; only four riders did more. Though the result was not exactly to write home about – Rossi finished as twelfth fastest, 0.821 off the fastest man Maverick Viñales, on the same bike as the Italian – he felt some small progress had been made.

"It's a positive day for me, because we worked a lot, we did a lot of laps," Rossi told us on Monday evening. "We have a desperate need to improve the pace, the feeling with the bike, because we are struggling very much during the weekend. And the feeling is not so bad. We finished the day with a good feeling, especially because I feel better on the bike and I am able to ride in a better way and I improved my pace a lot."

The main benefits from the test were on braking and corner entry. "We worked well with the team, mainly on the setting to improve the braking and entering the corner. Also Yamaha brought some new stuff that was working well. All gives a small help to improve the feeling and to improve the speed. At the end, it's quite good. So it was good test."

He had been open about where the problem lies. "The problem is my speed," Rossi told us. "I need to improve the speed and I need to improve the feeling with the bike. This weekend was very difficult and we know that it's difficult to fight for the victory, but we need to be stronger and we want to be stronger than this, for sure. But we have to work, especially with me and the M1. So I need to go faster."

Throughout the past few years, Rossi has admitted he has struggled to get the best out of the latest generation of Michelin rear tires. But the Italian was adamant he didn't want to lay the blame for his performance on the tire, but rather on his failure to adapt to it. "I don't want to speak about the tire, I don't want to say that the tire is too soft for me, because at the end, the tire is the same for everybody, so the others are able to go with this. And if we want to race in MotoGP, we have to manage this and we have to try," he told us.

The problem was he didn't trust the rear tire, and so was having to wait before getting on the throttle, Rossi explained. "I don't feel comfortable with the bike, with my drive I am a bit in delay, and this also creates a problem in acceleration," the Italian said. "Because a lot of time I have a problem with rear grip in acceleration, I am not able to exit from the corner fast enough."

The test had been fruitful, Rossi said, because he felt they had found something which made a genuine difference. "We worked a lot on the setting with David [Muñoz, crew chief], front fork setting, also the weight distribution for braking and entry in a faster way, to brake deeper and enter in the corner with more speed. This is the target, and we improved."

It was not a revolution, but at least a minor evolution in the right direction, Rossi told us. "Everything I tried today was a small step. And also Yamaha brought something that maybe is not very big, but anyway is a help for me, and I'm happy, because after the weekend we were quite down, because we were struggling. So we'll see, but today the feeling is a lot better. Sincerely, I'm happy about today because I feel better with the bike, and I was able to ride in a better way, more precise, faster in the fast parts, and we found something interesting."

Could this be the turning point that Rossi needs to get his season, and the continuation of his career back on track? The Italian remained cautious. "To answer your question, we need to wait for next week, and we will see," he said.

For us, on the outside looking in, it is hard to judge whether Rossi really did find at least some of the speed he is missing, or whether it is merely a false dawn. We will know a little more after Le Mans, and much more after the following two races at Mugello and Barcelona. It has long been said that the most dangerous thing a MotoGP journalist or fan can do is to underestimate Valentino Rossi. That will be true right up until the point it no longer is. But you can't help but feel that that point is nearer than ever.


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Source: 
year: 
2021
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4

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Comments

It might sound odd but I think it has worked out for the best that Valentino Rossi has stayed around for so long, and will leave the sport on a low. His steadily fading form has allowed the incredible fan adulation surrounding him to die down significantly, and for other riders to fill the breech – meaning the future following of the sport is assured, whereas in the past it relied pretty heavily on Rossi's continued presence.

Other factors at play that age here. No longer do you have all the extra data engineers and support and with a young crew chief new to MotoGP to sort it all out.  

Will he be champion again. No.  Can he still get on podium this year. Possibly.  Is that enough to continue. Probably not.  But as a near future team manager he's still fast enough to jump on the bike and shake it down Kenny Roberts style :)

One door closes another opens. 

He's got to be on the verge of accepting that it's time to give it a miss and move on to the next chapter in his career. Regardless of whether you love, hate or are indifferent to him, he has made a massive contribution to the sport and kept it interesting for a long time. I'd hate to see his legacy be tarnished by hanging in for too long. 
I'm also willing to bet that he has one or two more surprises up his sleeve but that won't be enough to make a difference anymore. 
Petronas must be hoping like crazy that he moves on as they want a really competitive rider on board and 46 isn't cutting it any more. 
The ride has spoken ....... VR is leaving the tribe!  .... soonish 😂😂😂😂

Don't know when Valentino Rossi will go. Since 1996 he has been amazing. Great for the sport. He hasn't retired yet. Anything can happen, another podium? Unpredictable, thats why they line up on Sunday.

In many countries I've said "I am here for the MotoGp event" and the person I was talking to didn't recognize "MotoGp"

Then I say " Valentino Rossi" & suddenly they know! "Oh yes! Yes yes!  Valentino Rossi, so cool, so fast!"

Marc Marquez may achieve similar glory. Let's leave any career comparisons until 2033 shall we.

I think there's still a bit of life in the old dog yet. I think there are a few factors to his lack of speed that David hasn't touched on here. Probably because it's all based on my wild speculation, not those pesky facts that David seems so fond of ;)

Less influence at Yamaha: It's a pet theory of mine that part of the resurgence of FQ and MV is yamaha not having to cater to Rossi anymore. With Cal to provide clear direction and give the younger lads the confidence to push for what was needed for their style, the bike has come to them. In the end if Rossi can adapt to the new style, he'll be able to have some of that pace rather than trying to wrangle the bike into his style which will never be fast enough.

The switch to Petronas. It's got to be a factor, the support from the factory is different, the team is different. He has to adapt, we'd be expecting any rider to have some teething issues, but with Rossi, he has this question looming over him.

It's all in the blink of an eye. I'm on record in the Dog and Hair as having said before this season that if you blink you'll be in 15th, and that was before I knew how hot the rookies were going to be. If KTM find a solution to the tire problem it's going to look like a moto3 race out there. But, the truth is, the difference is still the blink of an eye. David describes this as Rossi's nadir. In practice he's about a third of a second off in every sector. Literally the blink of an eye. It's an eternity stacked up into a race. But broken down into a sector, it seems doable. And makes it understandable as to why he doesn't want to quit. He just has to blink 4 times less on a lap and he's there.

So should he chuck the towel in? Not yet, not yet. Should we be ashamed and look away? Hell no. Here is our old hero refusing to go down without a fight, refusing to let time sweep him away. Refusing to bow to the pressure of the world to do what everyone else says he should. It's not undignified, it's brave in the extreme. And all done for the love of going out and racing motorcycles. Which is why he's always been a fave of mine. 

Forza Vali

Slow motion train wreck. Never been a fan, couldn't stonach the mugging for the camera. No denying the record however. Simple explanation, he has lost that little bit physically. When you do, you stress the tires more. No setup tweak can cure that.

As much I hate seeing Rossi packing it up, the same thing can't be said for many of his fans disappearing from social media and different racing forums when he finally pulls the plug, all I can say is good riddance!

It's not just social media, it happens in real life, too!

I was at Brno 2018 and Rossi led, with Marquez, Dovi and Lorenzo all pacing themselves behind him. With about eight laps left, the three of them passed Rossi in the space of one lap to push on for the win... and thousands of Rossi fans instantly packed up and went home. They were streaming out of the exits all the way through to the finish, even though the battle between Marquez and the two Ducatis was really good.

I couldn't believe it. You've come all that way for a 40-minute race, you've paid 70 euros to get in... and after 25 minutes, you pack up and leave! laugh

The same happened at Mugello 2016 after Rossi's engine blew. The difference in atmosphere from Saturday (Rossi getting pole) to Sunday was huge. The Rossi fans missed the great battle between Marquez and Lorenzo to the chequered flag!

In what currently seems like another lifetime, I journeyed from the UK to Phillip Island and Sepang for the races at the back end of 2018 (the Phillip Island Moto3 race was simply stupendous - e.g. John McPhee finished less than a second off victory...in 14th position). 

At Sepang, I met up with friends who had chosen the turn one grandstand, which was a Rossi grandstand. Prior to the race, every time the camera was on Marc in the pits there was a chorus of booing. In the race, Valentino got away first and led for most of the race, although once Marc got up to second and closed the gap you could sense the inevitable. After Valentino fell in front of us under pressure there was a bit of a gasp, but when Marc took the victory a few laps later there was no booing and just applause from the Malaysian fans (also helped by Hafizh Syahrin finishing 10th for Tech3). It was good to know that (much of) the hostility is just pantomime stuff and only skin deep.

LOL.  Valentino Rossi is responsible for so much over the past 20 years.  Firstly he had the target on his back for years and kept up with it. Marc Marquez hasn't even been able to win 5 MotoGP titles in a row, and Vale did it with two different motorcycles and manufacturers.  He is a big reason of the expansion of the sport world wide which has benefitted everyone from David writing this story to Dorna, all the riders, especially their salaries, etc.  He also made the sport better.  Many of the riders, such as Marquez, grew up following Valentino as he was the guy to beat, the person you had to be better than to be champion. So Vale made the riders better.  He has done so much for motorcycle racing and especially for resurrecting Italian representation of the sport.  A demon in the last laps, a killer, but not in practice and not off the track.  David resents him due to Lorenzo and the wall but I've watched this sport a long time and the sport has a history of the #1 rider for a manu not wanting to just hand all his information off to his teammate because the #1 did all the donkey work.  #1's have hated #2's and that has gone on far longer than Valentino Rossi.  I also see the crying of the seas of yellow fans in the stands.  Do you know what they have contributed to this sport?  Packing venues and providing struggling tracks with ticket money, keeping bleachers filled to the rim.  Vale stands alone with Ago since 1949 but certainly doesn't get that respect here.  A shame. 

Regarding his lack of pace, he's always been hardcore on weight distribution.  He does have a unique riding style, just like Lorenzo had a unique riding style, and Marc Marquez does as well.  He needs the bike setup where he has 100% confidence in the front end of the bike so he can take multiple lines through a corner and he has historically and well known preferred bricks as tires.  His teammate, Colin Edwards, once tried Rossi's preferred tires and said they were "bricks".  Hard as a coffin nail and these Michelins are not.  Perhpaps it is finally time for him to go.  No shame in it, he's done more in this sport than anyone but Giacomo.  He remains the best premier class rider in history.  More wins than anyone in the history of the sport in the premier class.  But I always give him the benefit of the doubt.  You can see his body language on the bike and that's not a Vale I know.  He and his team are struggling bad. They have not solved base setup for his M1 for 2021 at all.  The recent test they made some gains.  We'll see whether that yields any improvements this weekend.  Either way, too much hate here, and too much whining about his fans.  In any other sport that would be described as haters.  When the next idol comes to MotoGP, earns 9 titles, and has a cult following, bringing millions and millions of dollars into the sport, especially in another CRT era, and/or an era where sponsorship money is hard to attain, it will be welcomed with open arms.  Hardly anyone has done as much for this sport as he.  And I don't care about anyone's childish detraction, he's earned his respect, his place, his ride, and knowing him, he'll punt that seat himself if he can't cut it this year.  He could have signed a two year deal if he wanted, but elected to see if he was competitive first.  He loves racing, MotoGP, this whole thing too much to worsen it by bogarting a seat.  He'll give it up himself if he can't cut it.  Sad to read "good riddance".  I guess we have football level hate here in MotoGP as well when every lap is dancing with the grim reaper.  Just pathetic and sad to read. Most of those yellow fans are loyal, and have been for ages, which is so rare today with most being loyal to themselves in this day of narcissism, phones, and horrible social media applications enabling the phone to be a pacifier for many. 

I can very well remember the last time David did this and had to apologize for it publicly.  Eventually he'll be right.  It happens to everyone. 

Not really, at least not on here. I wouldn't go quite as far as the OP but there's no denying how vital he was to MotoGP in the noughties. And, while I doubt this was the intention, that the slow decline has doubled up as a "phased handover" that sees MotoGP in great shape for the foreseeable future. A thought - long covid? It affects the youngish more than the old and spans everything from the very mild to life changing. As to the question itself, before my time as a dedicated follower, but I imagine many said the same kind of things (maybe worse) about Hailwood when he came out of retirement. I'm sure Rossi will know when the mood music is the final song of the night.

No one is hating on Rossi here, just some of of the predictable behavior of his "fans"

I wasn't trying to make any negative point about Rossi, just remarking that I find it odd that so many people are more than happy to spend all sorts of money to support their favourite rider, but don't stick around to watch the race once their chosen rider isn't in contention - even when the race is thoroughly entertaining.

At Misano One last year (Frankie's first win), Rossi was fourth, for thirteen points.

In ten starts since then, he's scored twelve. (Ret, Ret, Ret, Ret, 4, 4, 4, 0, Ret, 0)

Above list ignores the two he missed for CoVid

After Misano 1 last year, Valentino was joint 5th in points with Maverick, two behind Joan and one ahead of Frankie. He wasn't quite there on pace (although as earlier comments have noted, there's a tiny knife edge between being fast and being nowhere in such a competitive pack the last few years), but was there on consistency like Dovi was in 2020...until he had the three DNFs and missed the two races and the rest of his year sunk without trace.

I think 100% he should retire, and make room at Yamaha for an up-and-coming rider. Yamaha is too used to the money I'm sure Rossi brings, but it's going to bite them to miss out on talent that could easily fill that seat.

I'm not exactly a Rossi fan, but I'm of two minds on his performance. Like I said, I want him to retire. It's sad to see him go out with a whimper, instead of a bang. But if he starts putting up results then it's likely he'll want to stick around. Quite the catch-22.

If you haven't read his book "What If I Had Never Tried It" you might give it a try. Great read. Plenty in there you may not know elsewhere.

Last year was steadily hoping for one last win. This year, still hoping for a last podium. His early outings on the new 5cyl Honda were a joy, blasting it around in yet unseen power slides. But the Zenith has to be the first Yamaha season. Maybe very first race in S Africa? I love the Rossi/Burgess/Furusawa story as told by all of them. 

Hoping we can hold multiple temporal perspectives. Can it be possible that, like Agostini, Rossi was the Greatest Of All That Time at that time? We can say that there is not just one way to determine a Great in motorcycle racing. That there is context as well as accounts with numbers. Plus, subjectivity and our cathecting them. Traits and skills of each rider that make them...great. Fantasy conjecture about putting them all, at their prime, on a certain set of bikes to race. Whatnot. 

"But rider B accomplished X!"

"Yeah, but there were only 4 bikes total that could win a race under reg conditions then. And rider A did it in multiple classes."

"Rider C RACED rider B, and crushed him. Plus, look at the improved riding style!"

"No, rider B did that on harder bikes to ride...a bunch of different ones too."

"You call that hard to ride? And no one innovated how to ride like rider G did!"

"What? Just look at the numbers here...clearly..."

"Clearly you all don't really follow the sport, C was rac..."

"C DID Z TO D which isn't even FAIR!" blerghety blah.

In the end, maybe Valentino was GOAT. Just like a very few others? And maybe even (that other guy here?). Nothing wrong with numbers and stats, but they do only do so much on their own. And we may end up ironically losing something in the process? We have been fortunate. Still are. 

Rossi has been Alien and then some. 2020 looks a last gasp. Yamaha owe him an apology about the bike they gave him to do it on. This 2021 Yam looks good again. Morbidelli's 2019 w the 2021 engine looks pretty good too. Valentino has made LOTS and lots of bikes look fantastic. Including helping the post Gigi post Vale Duc! Honda is about to do the same finally. Anyhoo, as usual the them and then and there is never where it is at. And this now and us and here is SO great! Not pining for anything else. (Ok, some reaches into the emerging future. Occasional nostalgia). This is the good times. 

;)

 

"You know you are in the sh*t when your are hoping for rain." The gist of Rossi's words during his stint at Ducati about a decade ago. Maybe Rossi is looking forward to a wet Le Mans. Didn't help him last year, but he might get on the box come Sunday afternoon. Brickstones may have allowed Rossi to be more competitve during the twilight years of his career. Never was a devout fan of 46, but it is still hard to watch Rossi's performances and post race comments since his results plummeted mid-season last year.

Rewatched Estoril '06 last night. Pedrosa's infamous and ill-fated move on Hayden a few laps in, asking too much of the front tire and inside curb when he got underneath too hot and his apparent disgust as he trudged away post crash. A very rare instance of Hayden, sans helmet, expressing seething anger at who knows what while stomping off the beach. Fantastic racing as Elias used Pedrosa's discarded Saturday night special to carve very wide lines across the entire racetrack and win by two-thousandths (!) of a second. A youthful Rossi jubilantly congratulating Elias in parc ferme. And Elias shedding a tear on the top of the box in front of all the fans including his mom and dad. Great racing won by a satellite rider/bike/team managed by Fausto Gresini bookended by a mixture of emotions. Knowing how the story of 2006 played out in Valencia makes it all worthwhile. Pedrosa played the supporting role of a good teammate to make amends for the Portugal mistake, Hayden showed the human side on the cool down lap and Rossi revealed that if he had to admit defeat to anyone he'd rather it was Nicky. Really good stuff.

if Rossi or anyone else are clueless to why he is slower..... maybe you could almost acrue some blame to getting COVID.  A lot isnt understood by this disease yet and many that have caught COVID have some form of vascular damage or ongoing minor ill effects.  

But then again...... Rossi's decline has been ongoing for many years... the odd RARE good result here or there cant really be used to proclaim that he is still fast...

I've never been a particular fan but I do recognize his greatness and the magnitude of his impact on sport. He has earned the right to do as he wishes no matter whether anyone else would be allowed or able - he's Vale, we all owe him a debt of gratitude that we can't possibly repay. I do wish to hear no more from him about BB being mean or similar, it's so undignified.

You do you, Vale, you are the GOAT of the modern age and love you or hate you, we have been blessed to witness you. Now go find about a second and a half for this weekend

I noticed one thing. Last year Fabio tells everyone that he hasn't got the feeling with the front. This year he has the feeling with the front and everyone applauds the turn around, it's like a new Fabio. Loose just that little bit and it's a couple of rows back for you with the accompanying words of how you never had it and never will. Rossi hasn't got the feeling with the rear....because he needs to retire.

Everybody wants to herald the fall. I'm unsure as to where the sentiment lies when somebody asks another to do something in order to prevent them tarnishing their legacy. He certainly earned it and i'm fairly sure it's his to spend. As long as someone will let him ride while he still wants to ride, i think he'd be mad not to. At least when it's over there wont be any comeback rumours or 'what if he hadn't retired when he did' stories ! More power to him, there have been many riders over the years tooling around near the back in exchange for far less.

Life has a way of contradicting the mind's conclusions. I want to pick Rossi as the dark horse for a podium this weekend. Rain would make it a lottery and his team may stumble across the setting that provides Rossi the grip needed to express himself on two wheels authentically. The guy has usually been strong in interpreting changing and wet conditions. Remember his first win in the top class at Donington?  Just one more would be great!

Nobody ever claimed Fabio completely lost it, and he had 4 wins last year. His decline was acute, indicating a fix may have been something small. Plus don't forget that Yamaha was mired in that engine part controversy that tied their hands.

Rossi on the other hand has been in a slow steady decline since he blew his best chance for #10 in 2015. His points hauls from that year forward were 325, 249, 208, 194 and 66. He no longer has the reins of the M1's development. Etc. He's not on a winning trajectory.

I won't say whether I think he deserves his seat. That's between him and Yamaha. But speculating on his future based on his past is not unreasonable. The sooner you move past the denial stage of grief the easier things will be.

It wasn't intended as a comparison of riders. It was only intended to point out that this vague thing seems to make a hell of a difference. Some people were claiming that Fabio had lost it, never had it, never will have what it takes to win a championship. As Miller pointed out, some also have short memories and now all that is forgotten because, he has the feeling back with the front. Now if Rossi had his feeling back (vague thing that it is) i wonder where he might be and if the music would be different. Lets call it speculation.

I'm certain Rossi has been in decline since a long time before 2015.

About the tarnishing of legacy. If he did tarnish whatever legacy he is supposed to have, who does it hurt ? Rossi or the commentator ? Does he care ? If he doesn't care...if he is happy riding around in 20th (i know..he says he isn't) and someone would (be mad enough to) give him the bike then good for him. I don't find it hard to see him at the back of the grid, I don't get sad, I don't understand why people say it is sad and difficult but I do think he should do as he pleases and in that respect yes...more power to him.

On performance I don't think he does deserve a ride next year, it's arguable if he has deserved one since 2018. Your last sentence is misplaced my friend and very pop.

You can't make a comparison and then say it's not a comparison. But if it helps we can just call it a non-comparison and proceed anyway.

If "people" were saying Fabio was done for then you should probably go back to those specific people to refute those points. Peanut gallery chatter is irrelevant. You talk about Rossi possibly finding the feeling like Fabio did. But you don't want to acknowledge the gulf in competitiveness between the two on the same bike over the same period, as well as the fact that even with his hiccups Fabio has been trending upward while Rossi has been in a downward spiral for nearly twice the time Fabio has even been on a MotoGP bike.

And while you might be happy to see Rossi struggling to get in the points, he himself said he does not enjoy riding around that way. He is a multi world champion. He's rich beyond measure. There is no point in him risking life and limb and dedicating so much time to be nowhere in MotoGP. Again according to him. So instead of arguing against his own words and people stating the obvious IMO a better use of time would be coming to grips with the reality that Rossi's time in MotoGP is coming to an end. He wasn't able to find the feeling in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 etc. The front, including guys on his bike, is getting faster and he isn't. What makes you think this year will be any different?

29 comments?! (Of course old goat is done-ish, and new one isn't).  

Please tell me you are all placing awareness on the circus at Le Mans in the wet for the next 3 days too. Much more wonder to see! 

We have two very strong riders about to try to stake claim on home round glory. And...SO much is happening. We should quit looking here and go up to the Pre Event podcast and article, eh? Maybe...three days ago?! Or during the last event's post race presser.