Rossi’s shadow still looms over MotoGP – and that’s a problem

Rossi’s shadow still looms over MotoGP – and that’s a problem

It’s now a 12 months considering that MotoGP’s celebrity 7-time winner Valentino Rossi retired – but if the new 2022 period finale at Valencia proved nearly anything, it’s that the Italian legend’s legacy still looms about the series like a shadow.

And which is not a good point in an age where by MotoGP is dealing with falling audience numbers and an incapacity to develop a superstar to swap Rossi.

It is of training course wholly normal that his existence ought to have been felt much more at Valencia than any place else this 12 months, as he turned up to see his VR46 Academy protege Pecco Bagnaia crowned as the earth champion – and no one particular in the entire world of racing wouldn’t have wished Rossi to be there given the total of blood, sweat, tears and money that he’s pumped into the future of Italian racing.

There’s a line amongst Rossi showing at the race and Rossi becoming the centre of focus at the race, though.

In the course of that weekend, we gained substantial social media notifications in flip turned into news stories by a host of models: he’s coming to the race, he’s arrived at the race, he’s spoken to this person or that.

Soon after the chequered flag went out to safe Bagnaia’s title, Rossi someway received additional Television airtime than race winner Alex Rins. When Bagnaia was questioned by the sequence in the push conference celebrating his title, the 3rd matter lifted was Rossi.

Of program, this trouble is not about Rossi himself or his actual actions: in reality, if his low-profile overall look at Valencia in which he was incredibly a great deal seeking difficult to fly under the radar, was anything to go by, it is completely feasible that he much more than anybody else is keen to escape the buzz coach that surrounds him anywhere he goes in bicycle racing.


No, instead than Valentino Rossi remaining in any way to blame (if that is even the word), it is the media, the circuits and specially MotoGP organiser Dorna who definitely will need to split their Rossi habit likely forwards for the superior of the complete sport.

Indeed, there is even now a Valentino Rossi legacy in the activity, and which is a excellent point. His Academy and the VR46 Ducati staff keep on to maintain his name in MotoGP devoid of Rossi owning to do any of the heavy lifting of in fact turning up to kiss infants and shake palms – and really, that need to be enough. But it is not remaining authorized to be.

The write-up-race comparison among interest on Rins and Rossi in unique is a good illustration of the problem. By excluding amazingly emotional scenes of Rins’s last victory with Suzuki on the team’s final day in MotoGP in return for demonstrating shot immediately after shot of Rossi, we’re letting the shadow of the earlier to cloud the potential. How do you produce new superstars when all you’re interested in carrying out is attempting to money in on the past just one?

Like I say, this isn’t a challenge special to any just one man or woman – but it’s absolutely a narrative established by Dorna, which controls the Tv pictures seen and whose possess social media networks are greater than any person else’s in motorcycle racing besides, funnily sufficient, Rossi’s possess.

Of program, the activity of changing him is not just as simple as displaying others on Tv in his area all people in sports marketing and advertising is properly conscious of that. It’s possible the total job of generating superstars isn’t even something that you can actively take care of, having as it does a unique mix of talent, persona and willingness – one thing that not absolutely everyone has.


But it does will need a platform to build a brand, and that’s in which operate can be accomplished. Are there young children right now in racing who are as partaking and amusing as Valentino Rossi was? There absolutely are, so let us guarantee that they are offered front and centre stage. Are there up-and-coming racers with attention-grabbing tales to inform? Positive there are, so let’s give them a platform to inform them.

In fairness, it’s not solely a Valentino Rossi difficulty that MotoGP has there are factors of the exact problem around Marc Marquez too.

For illustration, subsequent the disastrous reaction to MotoGP Unrestricted, the series’ documentary billed to problem the achievement of Formulation 1’s Generate to Endure, was the response to appear at a different cohort of personalities or a various method for 2023’s edition? No, it was to commission yet another Marc Marquez documentary instead… Do you see the issue?

So how do we repair it? Well, that is in part a issue for smarter persons than me. I’m a athletics journalist, but my background isn’t marketing and advertising. There are of class men and women out there who can provide what we will need, but it’s heading to involve buy-in from riders, groups, media and the sequence.

One particular point I am quite certain of even though: searching at 2022’s attendance quantities and Television set viewing figures, it’s a discussion that wants to be happening quicker relatively than later.