Rossi sparked passion for MotoGP in "normal people"

Valentino Rossi says he "switched on the emotion of normal people" and brought mass appeal to MotoGP in the early part of his career.

Rossi sparked passion for MotoGP in "normal people"

The nine-time grand prix motorcycle world champion announced earlier this month that he will be retiring from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season.

With a legendary career spanning 26 seasons in grand prix racing, Rossi has been a key figure in boosting the popularity of MotoGP and bringing it to mainstream attention through his personality and his on-track rivalries.

Rossi says this is something he is "very proud" of, but admits it has made it harder to have a normal life outside of MotoGP.

"I think that the difference between me and all the other great riders of MotoGP history is this, because for some reason, I was able to bring a lot of people close to motorcycle racing," Rossi said.

"Without me, they don't know MotoGP or 125cc or 250cc, especially in Italy.

"So, I did something in the first part of my career which switched on the emotion of the normal people and about this I am very proud, because it's something really special.

"And the other side is that it's more difficult to have a normal life, because you are always under pressure.

"You need to change your life. But I try always to make it as normal as possible, to not change a lot, and it's like this. It's okay, I enjoy it anyway."

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Expanding on this, Rossi noted that in his native Italy his career has offered people an escape but admits the reaction he gets from fans is still a "surprise" to him.

"Looks like that especially in Italy, a lot of people start to follow motorcycle races to follow me," Rossi added.

"It's a little bit like what's happened with Alberto Tomba in the skiing. So, I think this is the most important thing that I've done in my career, along with the results.

"I don't know why, sincerely, but I think I entertain a lot of people on Sunday afternoons and a lot of people enjoy and have one or two hours during their Sunday where they don't think of anything and they just enjoy following my races.

"So, I think this is the best thing. Now the results are not fantastic, all the people come to me and a lot of people when they see me it's very exciting.

"Some people cry, and for me it's always a surprise because I say 'don't cry, why are you crying?'

"But it's like this. So, I think this is the biggest emotion."

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