40-year-old Valentino Rossi remains motivated by strive for tenth title
Valentino Rossi says his biggest regret in his MotoGP career is failing to win a tenth title, but the chance to still achieve this keeps him motivated as he turns 40 years old.
Rossi celebrates his 40th birthday on February 16, and is set to contest his 20th season in the premier class and his 24th in total this year, marking the longest career for a rider in grand prix history.
In his time, Rossi has won seven premier class titles and championships in 125 and 250GPs, while moving into second on the all-time winners list with 115 in total.
In an interview with Italy's Gazzetta dello sport, Rossi says his “great regret” is missing out on a tenth title, but maintains his “dream” to achieve this is what keeps him motivated this far into his career.
“It is a dream in which I still believe a lot, but also a great regret as I would have deserved it,” he said.
“I lost two of them at the last race [in 2006 and 2015], and I have also been vice champion so many times, so my career deserves 10 [titles]. It is this which still motivates me.”
Rossi crashed out of the 2006 finale in Valencia while leading the standings, relinquishing the title to the late Nicky Hayden.
While admitting there were many mistakes in his career, Rossi says the conclusion of the 2006 campaign was his “real error”.
“In 2006, in Valencia, if I was calmer and I did not fall I would have won the title,” he added.
“Then there were a lot of things I did not understand well, if they were errors or not. Going to Ducati [for 2011 and 2012], or even to Yamaha [in 2004] instead of continuing to win with Honda.
“Or what happened at the end of 2015, when I lost the world championship [to Lorenzo].
“But the real error seems to me that of 2006, when I could have won.”
Rossi will remain with Yamaha for at least the next two seasons, after agreeing a new deal with the Japanese marque last year – but he is not ruling out extending his career past 2020.
“Honestly, I don't know,” he said when asked if his current contract will be his last.
“It be the last one, or not. We are a talking about something which is yet to begin. You have to have a lot of desire, there are two years.
“But I also know they could be my last. But I have not decided yet.”