Valentino Rossi has already announced his retirement from motorcycling as a rider at the end of the current MotoGP season, with three rounds remaining in his career. One of his «pupils» since the VR46 Riders Academy is Francesco Bagnaia, currently runner-up in the MotoGP World Championship.
The #63 admitted to CNN that it’s hard to accept that Rossi will leave – he who has developed a strong friendship with Il Dottore over the years even off-track:
– It won’t be easy to accept the fact that he won’t compete next year. Since the first year I arrived in Moto3 he has been here, and since 2014 we started sharing our day at home too. I can’t think about next year because it’s so hard to accept. It will be very strange.
Bagnaia also recalled the moment she met Rossi in person: ‘I remember very well the first time I met him. We were having dinner… and Vale arrived at the restaurant with our coach. I was very nervous about meeting my idol. It was weird having my idol in front of me and shaking hands’.
About his relationship with the Tavullia veteran, Pecco said: ‘I think we’re good friends now and we talk a lot about my championship. Last month he was always telling me about being the best, and always being the best’.
Francesco Bagnaia’s expectations for the last three GPs
Currently 52 points off the MotoGP World Championship lead, Francesco Bagnaia still has tenuous hopes of becoming champion this year. There are still three rounds and 75 points to play, so it’s not up to you to take the title.
The final phase of the season starts this weekend at Misano, in a GP del Made in Italy and dell’Emilia Romagna in which the Ducati man is aware that it will not be easy to repeat last september’s victory: ‘It will certainly not be easy to repeat victory, because the conditions will be very different. At 24th of ctober is very cold in Italy, so let’s see what happens. I think with the step forward we’ve taken this year, with the feeling I have from the front, the cold won’t be a problem’.
In an interview with CNN, Bagnaia looked at the GPs in Portimão and Valencia next November: ‘Portimão is another track I like, I have a podium there and I was very competitive. But at Valencia I’ve never been competitive, I’ve always had a lot of difficulties, it’s a track where I don’t feel well. So this year is the year that everything has to change, because I really want to stay ahead’.