Valentino Rossi joked he might opt to quit MotoGP™️ again in 2022 after enjoying all the fanfare that accompanied his final race in Valencia before retirement.
Rossi, a seven-time MotoGP™️ champion and legend of the sport, took to the track for the final time on Sunday having confirmed the 2021 season would be his last back in August.
The 42-year-old qualified in 10th and ultimately finished in the same position, achieving the top-10 finish he had identified as his goal heading into the weekend.
Rossi was mobbed at the end of the race, with his rivals, fans and crew all swarming around him before lifting him aloft of the track shortly after old friend Ronaldo waved the chequered flag.
A party then began as Rossi returned to the pits, and he could not hide his enjoyment of all the adoration.
"[There's been] a lot of surprises, we've had fun," he told Sky Sport Italia. "It was my style, we drank, broke a few things. I'm not that drunk yet!
"I'm happy to have had a good race, I finished among the 10 strongest riders in the world. Slowly now I'll realise that I'm stopping, but for now [it just feels like] the championship is over.
"I've always tried to do one last race in my style. They tried to make me cry, but in my opinion, this was supposed to be a party.
"Quitting was an excuse to make a bit of a mess, maybe I'll quit next year too! No, you know how proud I am to have gone out strong.
"I was in shape today, I was inspired. I like that I've left in this way. At least I can say that at the last race I finished 10th."
Fittingly, VR46 academy product Francesco Bagnaia was victorious on the day.
He and the other riders to have come through the academy who were involved in the various races over the weekend wore replicas of Rossi's most iconic helmet designs, and he appreciated that tribute.
"Yesterday, when they surprised me with the helmets, it was tough but nice," Rossi added. "Today, it was great to see them in action."