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Valentino Rossi retires, Remy Gardner Moto2 world champion

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Valentino Rossi was described as an “idol” as he closed the door on his career with a 10th-place finish at the season-ending Valencia MotoGP, won by Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia, appropriately one of the great Italian’s proteges.

The 42-year-old Rossi, a nine-time world champion across all categories, took all the applause from the 75,000 crowd as he rode an ovation lap in Valencia, which was his 432nd GP since starting his career back in 1996.

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Jorge Martin, of the Ducati-Pramac team, and Jack Miller (Ducati) completed the podium at the 18th race of the season for a first ever Ducati podium sweep.

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who had already secured the world championship, finished fifth after a heavy fall in qualifying.

It was a fourth win of the season for Bagnaia, who came through the VR46 Academy created by Rossi.

The 24-year-old finished the season 26 points behind Quartararo as runner-up in the title race.

He dominated the race but once former Brazilian footballer Ronaldo waved the chequered flag, all the attention turned to Rossi as the riders stopped to pay homage, fireworks went off and cries of “Vale, Vale” echoed around the stands.

His number 46 was everywhere, including on Bagnaia’s helmet and up in the stands of the Ricardo Tormo circuit where his initials and number ‘VR46’ fluttered on yellow flags in the Valencian sunshine.

In the paddock, the nine motorcycles that brought him world titles were lined up side-by-side since Thursday when he posed with each for an evocative photo-shoot.

It’ll be tough to say goodbye. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Rossi thinks retirement will be difficult “especially in March when the season starts again”.

“I regret stopping, already,” Rossi admitted with a trademark grin.

“We imagine this moment for a long time but you never know how we’re going to feel, if you’re going to be able to stay focused on the race, if you’re going to be sad. But it was a great weekend.

“It was very moving. I received great support and felt great respect from all the people in the paddock and all the riders.”

A giant street-art fresco displaying the portrait of the smiling “Dottore” overlooked the starting line.

If this season was his poorest in 26 seasons at world level — he finished a distant 18th in the standings — there were no tears, just a trademark grin from “The Doctor”.

“I was motivated and focused as if I was fighting for the championship because the last race is the last race, it’s very important,” he said.

“It was not easy because there was a lot of pressure but I was able to get into the top 10 so that means I’m ending my long career among the top 10 riders in the world!

“That’s important to me, I’ll always be able to say that in my last race I finished in the top 10. That was the most important thing, to try to be competitive, because I’m still a rider.

“I didn’t want to finish last.”

Quartararo was not even born when the Italian won his first world title in the 125cc category in 1997.

“Rossi, he’s been my idol since I was little,” said the 22-year-old

“He influenced me a lot in this sport and in the way of working. He’s a rider that I adore, as a rider and as a person for that matter.

“It is sad that this is his last race but we celebrated it well with the whole Yamaha team.”

Valentino Rossi is one of a kind. (Photo by Jose Jordan / AFP)Source: AFP

Rossi’s last title dates back to 2009 and his last GP victory in 2017 but that has not dulled the adoration felt by fans.

He claimed his first world title in 1997, a year after making his 125cc debut, following up with the 250cc championship in 1999.

Graduating to the premier class he was runner-up in his first season in 2000 before taking the final world title raced in the 500cc format a year later with Honda.

He added six more in the new MotoGP class in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009, the first two with Honda, the rest with Yamaha.

He retires with 115 victories including a record 89 in MotoGP, 235 podiums (199 in the top flight), also a record, and the longest career of any rider in the sport’s premier class.

Next season his VR46 team will make its debut in MotoGP next year as a Ducati satellite.

Australian rider Remy Gardner became Moto2 world champion, emulating his father Wayne’s 500cc world championship in 1987, in spite of only finishing 10th behind his main rival and Kalex teammate Raul Fernandez.

Spain’s Xavier Artigas of Honda won his maiden Moto3 GP on the same track earlier after countryman Pedro Acosta, winner of the world title last week at the age of just 17, fell on the final lap.

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Bathurst 1000, news, Supercars, crashes, video, latest, update

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This year’s Bathurst action has already delivered a host of monster crashes across a number of different categories, and Friday was no different.

First there was a crash in the GT World Challenge Australia before another huge shunt in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.

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In the afternoon’s Porsche category, Simon Fallon ran wide exiting the Cutting and battled for seventh position with Nick McBride over the next three corners. They went side-by-side in a narrow part of the track, with Fallon cutting in front of McBride only to be spun around and launched a metre up the wall.

The race was cut short by a safety car as ambulances attended to the drivers. A lengthy operation ensued to tow both cars away and remove the massive amounts of oil, coolant, and debris from the track.

‘Holy hell’: Bathurst rocked by ‘truly terrifying’ crash

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Earlier, the GT World Challenge Australia season finale at Mount Panorama saw a hard crash between Ben Porter and Theo Koundouris.

Porter went wide on the entry, causing a crash at Sulman Park as he hit a wall and took Koundouris along with him.

The safety car was brought out but Koundouris did well to keep his line and avoid crashing into the wall himself.

“He did a good job initially because quite often you can follow the car in front and can tend to follow them and drift wide and end in the wall yourself,” Chris Stubbs said in commentary.

“We’ve seen that happen multiple times at the top of the mountain. He kept his line well and wasn’t thrown off by the drifting Porter but just had nowhere to go.”

Meanwhile, Greg Rust later revealed Porter’s crew were looking into whether earlier contact may have sparked a slow deflation.

“I’ve just had a word to Ben Porter’s crew,” Rust said.

“They are question marking whether he may have had a little bit of contact, possibly, going up mountain straight which has triggered a slow deflation.

“They’re not sure about that. They have question marked that and ultimately whether it triggered that.”

Liam Talbot and co-driver Fraser Ross took out the victory, with Talbot getting around then-leading Stephen Grove with 20 minutes remaining to then hold on for the win.

Brett Hobson was his biggest challenger in the latter stages of the race.

Bathurst drama as Pither rams the wall | 01:28

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Ex-Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul finally comes good on tattoo bet with Daniel Ricciardo

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It was in August last year that Daniel Ricciardo revealed his bet with former Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul.

If the Australian finished on the podium for the French team in 2020, Abiteboul must get a permanent reminder of Ricciardo’s achievement on his body.

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Despite Abiteboul being able to choose the placement and size, it was a big risk as Ricciardo would choose the design.

Fast forward to October last year at the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany, and Abiteboul’s dream/nightmare became reality as Ricciardo finished third to end a two-and-a-half year drought from the podium.

Such was the momentous occasion of knowing his boss would now have to get a tattoo, Ricciardo forgot to celebrate the achievement in his traditional fashion of doing a shoey on the podium, although he did get around to it later in his trailer.

But as time went on after his third-place finish in Germany, the lack of ink of Abiteboul’s body began to draw some concern from Ricciardo and the F1 community as the Western Australian hoped their bet wouldn’t “drag on and become old news”.

Now, after more than a year since Ricciardo sprayed the champagne at the Nurburgring, Abiteboul has finally held up his end of the bet as the pair ventured out to a tattoo artist to seal the deal with the whole ordeal being posted on Ricciardo’s YouTube channel.

The former Renault boss, who is watching the 2021 F1 season from the sidelines having left the time after they rebranded as Alpine, presented a concept design that had half of an old Renault logo as well as a modern-style honey badger.

The original concept of the tattoo. Picture: YouTubeSource: YouTube

Given Ricciardo is somewhat of a tattoo veteran with the amount of ink on his body, Abiteboul could take comfort in his former driver’s expert wisdom on how the needle would feel on his clean skin.

Despite Red Bull boss Christian Horner claiming after the Eifel Grand Prix that Abiteboul should get the Red Bull logo “emblazoned on his derrière”, the right calf of Abiteboul was chosen as the destination for the tattoo, although he never seemed totally convinced as he lay flat on the table.

Of course, Ricciardo was lapping up every moment as his former boss winced in pain.

Ricciardo was having too much fun. Picture: YouTubeSource: YouTube
Not sure if Cyril is in pain or if he just ate a sour snake. Picture: YouTubeSource: YouTube

Slowly but surely, the tattoo artist made progress on the design as Abiteboul continued to look like he’d rather be anywhere else in the world but in the small studio.

Cyril is having the time of his life. Picture: YouTubeSource: YouTube

Eventually, Abiteboul was put out of his misery as the work on his calf was done and it was smiles all around for everyone.

The finished product. Picture: YouTubeSource: YouTube

While Ricciardo had plenty of fun with his former boss, his attention is now firmly focused on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 6 with lights out scheduled for 4.30am (AEDT).

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Supercars Championship, Gen3 prototypes, photos, reaction, video

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The new era of the Repco Supercars Championship has arrived, with the two Gen3 prototypes unveiled in Bathurst.

The covers came off the Ford Mustang GT and General Motors Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on the Friday morning of the Repco Bathurst 1000.

The Gen3 cars will make their racing debut in the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship.

The prototype Mustang and Camaro bare a closer visual connection between race and road vehicles than the current model race cars.

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Holdsworth tops practice session | 01:18

The new cars will also feature a signature Gen3 V8 engine sound.

The Bathurst unveiling brings the project full circle, with the Gen3 ruleset revealed at the 2020 Great Race.

The last 12 months have been headlined by a painstaking effort by Supercars and the two homologation teams to bring the cars to life.

Dick Johnson Racing has been charged with the development of the Mustang, and Triple Eight Race Engineering the Camaro.

From roof to bonnet, doors to windows, Gen3 cars will share the same key dimensions as the road cars they are based on.

BATHURST 1000 LIVE: Early crash causes drama; Supercars gun’s ‘extraordinary’ feat

The GEN3 Ford Performance Mustang is unveiled. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)
The GEN3 Ford Performance Mustang is unveiled. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The GEN3 Ford Performance Mustang up close. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The GEN3 Ford Performance Mustang and Chevrolet Racing Camaro. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The Mostech engine for the GEN3 Ford Performance Mustang. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer was delighted to uncover the future of the Repco Supercars Championship.

“These are incredible looking race cars and it’s an historic occasion to be here today, unveiling them at the foot of Mount Panorama, our spiritual home of racing,” Seamer said.

“The motorsport and motoring worlds have been watching this announcement very closely as it is a massive opportunity for our sport to step up on several levels and attract a wider audience.

“Both the Mustang and Camaro give a nod to the Supercar of the past, with as much attention given to the design and appearance of the cars as the new technologies.

“With the work of the Gen3 Steering Committee, our manufacturers and the homologation teams, we truly believe these cars will create close racing with a more level playing field.

“The Ford Mustang and GM Camaro are the first chapter of our new era that will be cost-effective for our major stakeholders and teams but retain the very core of our success – terrific and exciting Supercar racing, which is what our fans have been asking us for.”

Bathurst drama as Pither rams the wall | 01:28

It was also revealed at Friday’s launch that 2021 champion-elect and 2020 Bathurst winner Shane van Gisbergen will have the honour of turning the first laps of Mount Panorama in the Camaro.

Anton De Pasquale will drive the first lap of the Bathurst circuit in the Mustang.

The cars will be on display from Friday at the Repco Bathurst 1000. Demonstrations will be held at events in 2022.

Supercars will return to the track on Friday for Practice 3 at 10:40am AEDT. Click here to view the track schedule.

Every session of the event will be broadcast live on Foxtel (Fox Sports 503) and streamed on Kayo.

This article first appeared on supercars.comand was reproduced with permission.

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