MotoGP legend Rossi switches to four wheels for GT World Championship

By Sports Desk January 13, 2022

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi will switch to four-wheel racing to drive for Team WRT in the GT World Championship.

Rossi ended his incredible MotoGP career last November, finishing 10th in his final race at the Valencia Grand Prix.

The Italian icon, a seven-time world champion in the premier class, hung up his gloves at the age of 42.

But Rossi has agreed to take on a new racing challenge, having tested with Team WRT in Valencia last month.

He will be an official Audi sport driver, taking part in a 10-round competition striving to win the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup.

Rossi said: "I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme.

"Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end.

"Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing programme at a high level and with the right professional approach.

"Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them."

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  • 'I tried to make Bagnaia nervous' admits Bastianini after French Grand Prix win 'I tried to make Bagnaia nervous' admits Bastianini after French Grand Prix win

    Enea Bastianini said he tried to make Francesco Bagnaia "nervous" by overtaking him, a tactic that worked as he secured the win at the French Grand Prix on Sunday in MotoGP.

    To make Bagnaia's afternoon even worse, the Ducati rider crashed out just a few turns later.

    After working his way up from fifth on the grid, Bastianini made his way up to Bagnaia at the front before putting pressure on his fellow Italian.

    The drama arrived on lap 21 as Bastianini overtook Bagnaia before the latter immediately took his position back, only to hit the kicker and run wide.

    That allowed Bastianini to ease back into the lead, with Bagnaia's race ending after going into the gravel shortly after.

    "I'm really happy about this race. The weekend has been really complicated for me with some crashes," Bastianini said after his win.

    "In the race I see that my pace was really nice, and at the end when I see Pecco [Bagnaia] very close I understand 'okay now you have to stay behind', and I tried overtaking him in the second corner to make him a little bit nervous, and at the end he goes long and I win this race.

    "It's all for my team because they work a lot at this Grand Prix to give me the best bike, and it's incredible this job."

    Bagnaia started on pole alongside fellow Ducati rider Jack Miller, who did at least finish second, and the Australian explained why he had allowed Bagnaia to get back ahead of him early in the race.

    "The boys rode a strong race at the front there. Pecco wanted to pass me early on, it seemed like he had a bit better speed," Miller said. "I had good grip, I just wasn’t able to push off on that right-hand side.

    "Pecco wanted to pull away so I was like 'alright, go for it', but as soon as he got in the front he sort of started having moment after moment.

    "Then I saw Bastianini coming and coming. He put the move on me and to be honest I had nothing back for him until he and Pecco got into a bit of a battle, my lap times started coming down again there towards the end and I was actually able to come a bit closer to him, but yeah he was riding really well today."

  • Bastianini wins in France after Bagnaia crashes out Bastianini wins in France after Bagnaia crashes out

    Enea Bastianini secured a big win at the French Grand Prix after a battle with Francesco Bagnaia, which ended with the latter crashing out.

    Bagnaia started on pole alongside fellow Ducati rider Jack Miller, and led for most of the race.

    However, after working his way up from fifth, Bastianini overtook Miller and started making ground up on Bagnaia at the front.

    The drama arrived on lap 21 as Bastianini overtook Bagnaia, before the latter immediately took his position back, only to hit the kicker and run wide, allowing Bastianini to ease back into the lead.

    Matters got much worse for Bagnaia just a few turns later as he crashed out, seemingly trying too hard to make the ground up.

    Bagnaia had finished on the podium in six of his previous 12 MotoGP races (five wins), though had not reached it in any of his three Grand Prixs at Le Mans in the top category, and that run continued this time around.

    Miller came home in second to at least give Ducati something to cheer, while Aleix Espargaro held off a challenge from Fabio Quartararo to take third.

    Quartararo had finished on the podium in his previous two races and if he had done so in France, would have equalled his best run so far in the top category (three podiums in a row twice).

    Alex Rins and Joan Mir made it a weekend to forget for Suzuki Ecstar as they both failed to finish, with Rins crashing out early after losing control of his bike when re-joining the track from the gravel on lap three. Mir made an uncharacteristic error to also go down in the gravel.

    Marc Marquez finished sixth and has now collected points in his last nine MotoGP races (including two wins and three podiums), which was already his best run since 2019 and the best scoring run of any of the current riders.

    TOP 10

    1. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing)
    2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo) +2.718secs
    3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +4.182s
    4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +4.288s
    5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +11.139s
    6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +15.155s
    7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +16.680s
    8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +18.459s
    9. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing) +20.541s
    10. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) +21.486s

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 102
    2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 98
    3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) 94
    4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 69
    5. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo) 62

    Teams

    1. Aprilia Racing 131
    2. Suzuki Ecstar 125
    3. Monster Energy Yamaha 121
    4. Ducati Lenovo 118
    5. Red Bull KTM 99

  • Bagnaia stuns Quartararo in delivering another 'crazy' pole for Ducati Bagnaia stuns Quartararo in delivering another 'crazy' pole for Ducati

    Francesco Bagnaia secured another lap record and so another pole position at the French Grand Prix on Saturday, this time leading a Ducati one-two ahead of Jack Miller.

    Bagnaia had ended defending MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo's sequence of four consecutive poles last time out at the Grand Prix of Spain, setting a Jerez record.

    The Italian protected that position to win for the first time this season and will hope to repeat the feat at Le Mans, where he was again dominant in qualifying.

    Bagnaia's time of 1:30.450 edged out Miller by 0.069 seconds, with Quartararo – looking to become the first home winner in France since 1954 – forced to settle for fourth.

    But the Monster Energy Yamaha rider, who again leads the standings, recognises Bagnaia and Ducati are doing something special in qualifying.

    Indeed, Bagnaia has a leading eight poles since the start of last season.

    "I was disappointed, but two minutes later I was happy," Quartararo said. "On the qualifying, we miss something – all the time, not only in qualifying. 

    "Ducati is able to really do something crazy – and the riders, I would not say only Ducati.  

    "But we are all the same in the race pace, so it's difficult to really make the difference."

    Even so, Bagnaia believes Quartararo will be the man to beat, although he added: "I think after the modification I did in qualifying, I am more close now.

    "But it's difficult to say now. The forecast says tomorrow it will rain. I hope it will not be like this, but it looks like it could be."

    PROVISIONAL GRID

    1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1:30.450
    2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.069s
    3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +0.159s
    4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.238s
    5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) +0.261s
    6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.413s
    7. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.493s
    8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.527s
    9. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.618s
    10. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.698s

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