Valentino Rossi tipped to quit MotoGP and hold crunch talks with Yamaha – EXCLUSIVE

The Doctor is contracted to Yamaha for another 12 months but is having a tough campaign.

He crossed the line in eighth at the German Grand Prix but never looked capable of mounting a serious podium push.

Maverick Vinales – who shares the Yamaha factory garage with Rossi – finished second at the Sachsenring behind race winner Marc Marquez.

The Italian superstar had previously failed to finish the last three races through a mixture of bad luck and poor judgement.

“I can’t see him wanting to do another year”

Neil Hodgson

Following the summer break, Rossi will get a chance to prove he’s still got the magic in Brno.

Once again he’ll face an uphill battle, though.

Rossi starts seventh on the grid after challenging conditions in qualifying yesterday.

Marquez bagged pole after a dazzling show of force.

BT Sport pundit Hodgson reckons Rossi’s lack of competitiveness could prompt him to hang up his leathers sooner rather than later.

“My gut feeling is if he continues like this until the end of the year, I can’t see him wanting to do another year,” he exclusively told Starsport. 

“Nobody would think any less of him if he went: ‘I’m not enjoying it like I did in the past’.

Rossi has been competing at the highest level for two decades.

His charisma and fierce rivalries over the years have made him one the biggest names in motorsport.

Hodgson, however, reckons his age is now becoming an issue as Rossi becomes increasingly risk averse.

“There is a reason the grid isn’t full of 40-year-old riders,” he added.

“Age is catching up with him. But if you say anything negative about Rossi then stand back and be prepared to be proved wrong – or get shut down by all the fans.

“If you’re not quite willing to give that extra 0.1 per cent then you won’t be in the top 10.

“Rossi is on a poor run – and it’s not through a lack of ability – it’s just that last 0.1 per cent.

“But that’s just what I’m seeing. You know, whatever happens it’s not going to affect his legacy.

“He’s a nine-time world champion, he’s a god. But it does seem that in certain situations he’s lost his edge a bit.

“That said, come race day the adrenaline flows. And when that flows he goes back to being the old Rossi.”

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