During the Grand Prix of SHARK de France last weekend in Le Mans, MotoGP announced that the 46th number of Valentino Rossi will resign at a ceremony in the next round, the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley in Mugello, a track where Rossi has achieved great success . . This immediately revived the old debate: is it a good thing to stay out of the competition?
Some people in the paddock think that’s not the case, and Rossi may be one of them. A few years ago, when Marco Simoncelli’s number 58 was retiring, Rossi said he would be happy to see how his number remains in competition one day he retired.
Simon Patterson not only wrote his opposition on Twitter, but also wrote strongly articulated opinion in The Race, explaining why he thinks the retirement number does not honor the rider, but rather removes his legacy from the scene. He was not the only commentator to hold such an opinion.
No numbers in motorcycle racing should ever be retired. If you have the courage, you need to hold a number and accept criticism if you can’t live up to the expectations that that number creates. https://t.co/yojxkdKl82
– David Emmett (@motomatters) May 14, 2022
The issue is further complicated by the fact that there is no consistent standard when a number retires. It is not based on success. Here MotoGP Legends program for that and even deciding who will get into this club not always easy. Retirement figures seem almost a coincidence. For example, 34 Kevin Schwantz was the first number to retire, although the number of riders who won more titles was not removed. 65 Loris Capirasi has retired, although he has never won a championship in the premier class.
In recent years, the figures have mostly been retired due to the premature death of the racer. This is the case with 69-year-old Nicki Hayden, 58-year-old Simancelli, 74-year-old Daidir Kato and 48-year-old Shoya Tamizova (in Moto2). Last year, Jason Dupasque’s number 50 was taken out of use in Moto3 after his death.
Despite being 69 removed from MotoGP, several MotoAmerica riders, most notably Hayden Gilim, continue to use Nicki Hayden’s old number as a way to pay tribute to one of their race heroes. Nicky’s younger brother, Roger, who is now a commentator for MotoAmericaLive +, said the Hayden family likes to see that number remain in competition.
So, what’s the right way to celebrate great racing success or remember a racer who lost too quickly? Is it to cancel the number or keep it on the way? Have your say in the comments.