Italy sends Frecce Tricolori jets to salute Rossi who received award from Italian foreign minister.
Valentino Rossi, the Italian professional motorcycle road racer and multiple time MotoGP World Champion, made his last race in Italy on Sunday before he retires next month after a celebrated 26-year career in the sport.
The Italian racing legend – known as The Doctor – raced in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in front of a crowd of emotional fans at his home track in Misano Adriatico, near Rimini in north-east Italy.
Among the onlookers was Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio who presented Rossi with a special award in recognition of his “phenomenal career” and his international role as an “ambassador of Made in Italy in the world.”
Rossi was also honoured with a fly-over by the Frecce Tricolori fighter jets which emitted green, white and red plumes representing the Italian flag as they flew past the race track in formation.
Il dottore, who will hang up his helmet with the season-ending race at Valencia on 14 November, announced in August that in 2022 he woud race cars instead of motorcycles.
“I will remain a rider all my life” – he said – “I will just switch from motorcycles to cars.”
Widely viewed as one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever, Rossi has won nine Grand Prix World Championships, seven of which are in the premier class.
The 42-year-old champion, who is about to become a father for the first time, is also the only road racer to have competed in 400 or more Grands Prix.
Photo La Repubblica