Valentino Rossi brought the curtain down on his illustrious MotoGP™️ career with a 10th-placed finish at the Valencia Grand Prix while his protege Francesco Bagnaia crossed the line first in the final race of the campaign.
Seven-time MotoGP™️ champion Rossi, 42, confirmed in August he would be hanging up his leathers at the end of the 2021 season, and he closed things out with a drama-free ride as he achieved his pre-weekend goal of a top-10 finish.
Danil Petrucci, who finished in 18th, is also departing MotoGP™️.
Rossi received a hero's reception at the end of the race as riders, fans and crew swarmed and held him aloft, with his old friend Ronaldo having waved the final chequered flag of his career.
The veteran enjoyed a solid performance in qualifying, securing a respectable 10th place on the grid, but it was his countryman Bagnaia and rookie Jorge Martin at the front who occupied the main in-race focus.
Martin started on pole for the fourth time this season and showed excellent poise to hold off Bagnaia for a while, but he left the door open at the end of the 15th lap as the Italian's persistence paid off.
Bagnaia was then in a class of his own for the rest of the race as Martin failed to reel him back in, though the latter did just enough to hold off Jack Miller to secure second.
Ducati bikes locked out the podium as their factory team secured the teams' title in emphatic fashion, but all the attention was on Rossi at the end, with various teams producing their own tributes to him as he rode back down the pit lane for the last time.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)
2. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.489
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.823
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +5.214
5. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +5.439
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +6.993
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +8.437
8. Enea Bastianini (Avintia) +10.933
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +12.651
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +13.468
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 278
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 252
3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 208
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) 181
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 173
1. Ducati 437
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 380
3. Suzuki Ecstar 307
4. Pramac Racing 288
5. Repsol Honda 250