Valentino Rossi's decision to retire from MotoGP at the end of this season was kept remarkably secret until he made the official announcement on Thursday in Austria.

Even as Rossi walked into the press conference room at the Red Bull Ring opinions were split over whether he would call time on his record-breaking career or confirm a switch to his own VR46 team in 2022.

The reason for the lack of leaks was simple; even Rossi's own brother and fellow MotoGP rider Luca Marini hadn't been told of his decision to retire and their mum was the only family member to have any advance knowledge.

"About the press conference, sincerely I didn’t say anything to our VR46 Academy riders," Rossi explained.

"I spoke with them a lot about the decision, especially with Pecco, with Migno and with my brother. But they pushed very much for me to continue, they said that I have to continue, I don’t have to stop and everything.

"So when I'd decided, I don’t say nothing. Also to Luca, because after it's difficult to manage.

"When the decision was taken, I called Pol [Petronas press officer] because we wanted to organised the press conference.

"Then on Wednesday evening me, Francesca my girlfriend, and my mother always eat together. I didn't say anything to my mother until just before we left, when I said, 'tomorrow I have a press conference at 4:15, I'll say that I'll stop!'

"She was 'oh… yes?' She didn't have the power to say anything, you know! And I go. It was quite funny!"

Explaining further why he had opted not to ride for his new VR46 Ducati MotoGP team, Rossi said that it takes several seasons to adapt to a change of machinery, which at the age of 42 is time he simply does not have.

"In the modern MotoGP if you want to change bike, in general, not just the Ducati, you need a longer program that is a minimum of 2-3 years to try to understand and for try to reach all the potential," said Rossi.

"In my case, maybe I can race another year, but to change bike for just one season is difficult. Sincerely I don’t want to push very much on our team in MotoGP for me. I just follow what happens."

The adaptation problem would have been solved if VR46 acquired the satellite M1 supply from the Petronas team Rossi is now spending his last MotoGP season with, but that would have opened a can of worms.

"We have also a big problem, which is that now I race for the Petronas team and Petronas team wants the Yamahas. So to take the Yamahas from the Petronas team for my team, when Petronas is my team now, I think it's difficult. It's not good. So I let the things go and I took my decision after."

Meanwhile the lack of competitive results closed-down the option of staying on at Petronas for a further year.

"If the first half of this season gave us some good results, why not [stay]? I feel very good in the team, but the problem is the results," he said.

Exactly why Rossi has struggled in recent seasons - his last win was in 2017, and last podium at the start of 2020 - remains unclear.

Rossi has said the softer rear-tyre construction is a factor, but made clear it’s the same for everyone and not an excuse. Could it instead be a new kind of riding style used by those at the front?

"I always try to adapt my riding style, some 'upgrades' to make a more modern style and I think that especially in the last two years [almost] everybody rides with the body very much outside of the bike, with the elbows and shoulders down and head very much in front.

"But not everybody. I mean have some riders that are less extreme that anyway are very strong like for example Franco [Morbidelli]

"I think that up to a point it's important, but after it's a question of your own style. It depends. But I don’t think it makes such a difference. You cannot ride like in the 1990s but you can arrive to one level.

"Everyone has their own style. It's not for that reason."