Valentino Rossi brought his MotoGP career to a close this weekend with an emotional weekend at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. The Doctor ended his illustrious career with a strong top-ten finish. World Champion Fabio Quartararo concluded his 2021 campaign with a fifth-place finish in Valencia.
After 26-years of Grand Prix racing, 42-year-old Valentino Rossi made his 432nd and final MotoGP start this weekend as he brought his impressive career to a close. The 115 time race-winner and 199 time a podium finisher got his final race underway from tenth on the grid and was eager to finish on a high. Attacking from the beginning, the Italian claimed ninth by the end of the first lap. Trying to stick with the leading group, Rossi dropped behind the Ducatis of Johann Zarco and Enea Bastianini by lap nine, but that didn’t faze the experienced Italian.
Continuing to push on, the nine-times World Champion found himself back in the top ten at the mid-way stage and held off Yamaha counterpart Franco Morbidelli to eventually finish his career in tenth place.
World Champion Fabio Quartararo concluded his 2021 campaign with a fifth-place finish in Valencia. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider began the season closer from eighth on the grid and a bright start saw the Frenchman end the opening lap in sixth place.
Determined to join the top-five battle, Quartararo launched an attack on Jack Miller, a neat move at turn 14 promoted the 22-year-old to fifth, but Miller was quick to re-pass the Yamaha man. Locked in battle, the World Champion secured fifth place at turn four, but as the race went on dropped back to sixth.
An accident for another rider on lap 11 promoted him back to fifth place, where he eventually finished the Grand Prix, +5.439 seconds behind the winner.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Franco Morbidelli began his final race of the 2021 season in 11th place. Dropping to 13th on lap one, Morbidelli pushed on, recovering to 11th by the half-way point. Following Rossi for the second half of the race, Morbidelli brought his factory M1 Yamaha home in 11th, securing five points.
Andrea Dovizioso completed his final race in PETRONAS colours with a 12th place finish. Dovizioso ran the majority of his race in 13th place but a charge saw him claim a season-best finish of 12th.
Fabio Quartararo’s championship-winning season saw him rack up a total of 278 points, finishing 26 points clear atop of the standings. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Franco Morbidelli secured 17th in the standings, despite missing five races through injury. Valentino Rossi’s 44 points saw him bow out of the championship in 18th place with Andrea Dovizioso securing 12 points during his five Grands Prix with Razlan Razali’s PETRONAS outfit.
Yamaha secured second in the constructors’ standings with a 309 points total while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP missed out on the team’s championship, finishing second with 380 points.
There’s no rest for the Yamaha MotoGP teams as 2022 gets underway with the first of seven test days at Jerez this week. Monster Energy Yamaha will be joined by the newly-formed RNF Yamaha team as Darryn Binder makes his MotoGP debut.
Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 5th
“To be honest, I‘m satisfied because we were in a bad situation when we started on Friday morning, but we achieved quite a great pace today. We changed the bike in Warm Up this morning and that made it a bit better. It wasn‘t easy, but we achieved something that‘s pretty great. I wanted to have fun today more than wanting a good result, and I had fun today. So, I‘m super happy, because even if it wasn‘t the perfect weekend I hoped for, we were able to get a top-5 result. I enjoyed the race, and we finished the season in a good way.”
Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, 10th
“I didn’t expect that it could be a weekend like this. I was very worried for this weekend because I didn’t know how I felt and there was a lot of pressure with many things to do. It was fantastic, I received a lot of positive energy from all the people in the paddock and I had a lot of great surprises: from seeing all my bikes on Thursday, to all the VR46 Academy riders with my helmets today. I’m also happy because I was able to be strong in both Qualifying yesterday and in the race today, finishing in the top-ten. I enjoyed it a lot and it was the best way to finish. I am in the top ten best riders in the world and it means everything, because this result will never change. I also enjoyed the celebrations after the race. It was a long career and I want to say thanks to everybody.”
Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 11th
“I was lucky enough to enjoy Valentino‘s last laps for the whole way as I was riding behind him. I feel really lucky for that. Before the race, I wanted to stay as far as possible from him. I didn‘t want to be involved in anything that could upset his final race, but when I found myself behind him, I just enjoyed it. I tried to push him and stay behind him. It was really, really fast, and difficult to overtake. At the end of the race, he made a step also, he accelerated his pace – it was just amazing! I feel really lucky, and it was a really nice race.”
Andrea Dovizioso – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, 12th
“We were much closer than we have been in other races today, so I’m happy to finish the season with that speed. We also worked well to improve the bike under braking, which meant I could take different lines. It was good for me that I could follow ‘Vale’ [Rossi] and Franco [Morbidelli] to learn how they ride the Yamaha, as they are very experienced with it. I’m very happy with today and it was a good way to finish the season.
“To be a team-mate of Rossi was strange, as I have always been in different teams to him, but it has been enjoyable. I tried to beat him but he was very strong and he always has something more to give in a race. It has been really nice to share the box with him at his final round and I feel lucky to have been part of it.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“Overall, it was a difficult weekend, more than we could have expected. Fabio was able to get a good result considering his starting position. We found a setting on the bike for him that paid off. We‘re quite satisfied about that, but we finished 5 seconds behind the race winner. That will be the fuel for our motivation during the wintertime, to be stronger next year, which is already starting next week at the Jerez Test. But first there’s tonight‘s MotoGP Gala where we can celebrate Fabio’s championship win in his debut year with our team.
“Franky did a consistent race. We know his physical condition isn‘t back to his former form yet, but during this race he was able to keep a good pace from the beginning to the end. For sure he will be using the off-season to train so he can start the next season very competitively.
“We are all so happy for Valentino that he was able to finish his epic career with a top-10 result today. He did it at a track where he usually struggles a bit. But this time he had a great weekend and proved once again why he is called the ’Greatest of All Time‘. That‘s exactly what he is. We had the pleasure to work with him for many years. We will forever keep the amazing memories he gave us and wish him all the best. Ciao, Valentino!”
Razlan Razali – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, Team Principal
“Today was an emotional day for the team, especially as it was Rossi’s last dance after a glorious 26 years. We are truly honoured that he has ended his career with us and it will go down in the history books that the last team he rode for was PETRONAS Yamaha SRT. At the same time it is the team’s final race as well and it was good that Andrea could finish inside the points in 12th as well. It has been a great three years, with great highs and lows. We have made tremendous achievements in that time though.”
Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana Race Result
1. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team
2. Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing +0.489
3. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team +0.823
4. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +5.214
5. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +5.439
6. Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing +6.993
7. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.437
8. Enea Bastianini – Avintia Esponsorama +10.933
9. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +12.651
10. Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT +13.468
11. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +14.085
12. Andrea Dovizioso – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT +16.534
13. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL +17.059
14. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +18.221
15. Iker Lecuona – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing +19.233
16. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +19.815
17. Luca Marini – SKY VR46 Avintia +28.860
18. Danilo Petrucci – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing +32.169
NC. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +17 laps
NC. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +23 laps
2021 MotoGP World Championship Standings
1. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 278 points
2. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team 252 points
3. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 208 points
4. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team 181 points
5. Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing 173 points
6. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 151 points
7. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team 142 points
8. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 120 points
9. Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing 111 points
10. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 106 points
11. Enea Bastianini – Avintia Esponsorama 102 points
12. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team 100 points
13. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 99 points
14. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 94 points
15. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMTISU 76 points
16. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL 70 points
17. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 47 points
18. Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 44 points
19. Luca Marini – SKY VR46 Avintia 41 points
20. Iker Lecuona – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 39 points
21. Danilo Petrucci – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 37 points
22. Stefan Bradl – Honda HRC 14 points
23. Michele Pirro – Ducati Lenovo Team 12 points
24. Andrea Dovizioso – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 12 points
25. Dani Pedrosa – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6 points
26. Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 4 points
27. Tito Rabat – Pramac Racing 1 point
28. Cal Crutchlow – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 0 points
29. Garrett Gerloff – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 0 points
30. Jake Dixon – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 0 points
2021 MotoGP Constructor’s Championship
1. Ducati 357 points
2. Yamaha 309 points
3. Suzuki 240 points
4. Honda 214 points
5. KTM 205 points
6. Aprilia 121 points
2021 MotoGP Team’s Championship
1. Ducati Lenovo Team 433 points
2. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 380 points
3. Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 307 points
4. Pramac Racing 288 points
5. Repsol Honda Team 250 points
6. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 245 points
7. LCR Honda 146 points
8. Esponsorama Racing 143 points
9. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 135 points
10. PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 96 points
11. Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 76 points