This weekend’s Emilia-Romagna MotoGP will bring down the curtain on Valentino Rossi’s career racing at his home track (Misano), a venue he’s won at three times while also claiming another six podiums since it was introduced on the calendar in 2008. 

The Italian will be treated to increased fan support compared to last month’s first race at Misano - 10,000 extra fans have been allowed to attend. 

And while it’s sure to be a ‘sad’ and emotional affair for Rossi and his many, many fans around the globe, the Petronas Yamaha spoke glowingly of the support he’s received which has lasted over 400 Grand Prix.

Speaking in the pre-event press conference, Rossi said: "It’s a long story. It’s more than 400 races and a long career. I just have to say thank you to everybody because I have an incredible support all over the world; especially in Italy, but all over the world more or less. 

"I always give the maximum and we enjoyed a lot together because it’s a long career with a lot of great races. 

"So, we will see on Sunday and after Misano we will have another two races. It’s always a sad moment when you arrive at the end, but anyway, it was good, we enjoyed it together."

While this weekend marks Valentino Rossi’s final race in Italy, it’s also the first ‘real’ opportunity for fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo to claim the 2021 World Championship.

But for that to happen it will mean finishing ahead of Rossi’s VR46 academy rider Francesco Bagnaia who won at Misano last month. 

"I think that the difference is 52 points and I think that Fabio wants to close as soon as possible," said Rossi when asked about the title fight. "He will try already on Sunday because if it becomes longer, then it becomes more difficult. 

"He will try his maximum on Sunday. For Pecco, I already told him to make the same result as Misano one - pole position, fastest lap and win the race [laughs]. 

"This is the most I can say to Pecco. I think that it’s a great challenge between Fabio and Pecco to fight for the championship. 

"It's a shame that Pecco lost some points during the season, maybe not for Fabio, but for the people around it can be more fun if they are more close."