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MotoGP: Valentino Rossi: Don't retire #46, Suzuka 'when I stop'

“If another rider wants to take that number they can" - Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi is not keen on his famous #46 being retired when he stops racing in MotoGP.

The Italian superstar has become synonymous with the number, using it ever since joining grand prix in 1996 and building a brand (VR46) around it. A winner of nine world titles, Rossi has always rejected the #1 plate.

On a day when Marco Simoncelli's #58 was officially retired from grand prix - it can be used again only with the blessing of the Simoncelli family - Rossi said:

"What the family of Marco - and especially Paolo - have done after 2011 is something very special and I always try to help them. Paolo had this idea of a hospital [for disabled children] a long time ago and whenever we meet he always explained they are at a good moment, so I'm very happy it is now ready [to be built].

"About my number [46], I was thinking... my first impression is that I don't like that the 46 is cancelled. I prefer that it remains and if some other rider wants to take that number they can."

The Doctor also revealed that he is open to racing for Yamaha in the Suzuka 8 Hours, but only after he calls time on what is already a record-breaking MotoGP career.

"I like a lot that race and I love to make also with Yamaha. For me, can be. But the problem is not during the MotoGP season," said Rossi, who won the event riding for Honda, alongside Colin Edwards, in 2001.

"So maybe when I stop because sincerely now I'm too old and we don't have enough time for make the 8 Hour because in reality is the only week or ten days that we have off holiday between the first and second parts of the MotoGP season.

"So if you spend that week in Suzuka is a big stress physically and mentally and I think you can pay in the second half. But maybe in the future when I stop, I want to try with Yamaha. Is a great race."

Yamaha has won at Suzuka for the last two seasons, with the aid of Tech 3 MotoGP riders Pol Espargaro (2015-2016) and Bradley Smith (2015).

Rossi has beaten world championship leader Marc Marquez in all three races since the MotoGP summer break, but remains 50 adrift heading into this weekend's Misano race.

The 37-year-old is contracted to race in MotoGP with Yamaha until at least the end of 2018.

Tagged as: Valentino Rossi

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