Francesco Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo and Danilo Petrucci have all shared their thoughts on nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who is set to retire following Sunday’s Valencia MotoGP. 

Rossi, who decided back in August to end his stunning 25-year career at the conclusion of this season, will leave behind a near untouchable legacy, both on and off the track. 

While 2021 has been his worst statistical season as a MotoGP rider, Rossi’s global effect remains unrivaled and one the sport will without doubt struggle to fill going forward.

Three riders who have all looked up to the Italian for different reasons and seen first-hand the type of effect he’s had are Quartararo, Bagnaia and Petrucci. 

Quartararo, who idolised Rossi since he was a child, was the man who replaced him inside the factory team this year, while Bagnaia has been a prodigy of the 42 year-old’s for several years and spends a considerable amount of his time training with the Italian.

Starting with Quartararo, the top two in the championship said this about the Italian legend: "To be honest, it’s tough to see. Many people, with the results he’s having, think he should retire, but I think that all those people are now wanting him to stay,”  

"It’s sad (him retiring) because he’s the legend of this sport. He really brings something special and he is the one who really inspired me when I was a child. 

"Watching him, watching his celebrations, how he wins and the personality that he has. For me Vale is the idol of many of us. 

"I think everyone needs to congratulate him for the great career he achieved."

Bagnaia added: "For sure, I have been so lucky to be in MotoGP when he was still racing. Also, I’m happy to have won my first race with him on track. 

"I want to say thanks for everything, for all the work he has done with the academy and I have also been lucky to be a part of his life. 

"We spend a lot of days together and we train together. It’s a tough day today, but this day is normal that it arrives. 

"I’m sure all the people will never forget what Vale has done for the championship." 

Last but not least is Petrucci who will also be calling it a day regarding his MotoGP career this weekend - Petrucci will be taking part in the 2022 Dakar Rally.

Of all current riders, Petrucci is only second to Andrea Dovizioso in terms of most years spent racing ‘The Doctor’ - ten. 

Out of Petrucci, Quartararo and Bagnaia, the KTM rider is also the only one to have been racing in the premier class when Rossi last clinched a victory (Assen 2017).

"Yeah, it has been really, really nice. I fought with him for his last victory in Assen 2017. We fought all the race and the fact is we raced together for ten years," said Petrucci. 

"We fought for wins, podiums, 16th place for a lot of times [laughs] and I remember; many of you know my dad was a truck driver, and when Vale bought his first motorhome in 97 he came to my house to pick up this motorhome. 

"So, I knew him for a long time, before he was Valentino. Also, to have the chance to stay on track with him and share the podiums and so many memories has been really a pride."