Genap Berusia 45 Tahun, Valentino Rossi Belum Mau ‘Injak Rem’

I Gede Ardy Estrada

Editor: I Gede Ardy Estrada

Valentino Rossi. (Dede Mauladi/Skor.id)
Valentino Rossi resmi menjadi brand ambassador Yamaha sejak MotoGP Spanyol 2023. (Dede Mauladi/Skor.id)

SKOR.id – Sembilan kali juara dunia Valentino Rossi berulang tahun ke-45 pada Jumat, 16 Februari 2024. Meski sudah tidak lagi muda, The Doctor belum selesai dengan kariernya sebagai pembalap. 

Rossi memang tak lagi aktif di MotoGP, kejuaraan dunia balap motor paling bergengsi di dunia yang telah dijuarainya berkali-kali. Namun, sang legenda belum benar-benar keluar dari trek balap.

Dalam MotoGP jejaknya masih ada di kelas premier melalui Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team, yang menjadi salah satu struktur satelit Ducati.

Sementara Rossi sendiri tetap melanjutkan karier balapnya, meskipun kini di disiplin roda empat. Sejak pensiun dari MotoGP pada akhir 2021, The Doctor beralih ke balap mobil, tepatnya endurance race.

Pria Italia tersebut masih senang menantang dirinya sendiri untuk mendobrak batas, dalam hal ini usia. Bagi seorang atlet, 40 tahun umumnya adalah fase di mana mereka sudah memasuki masa pensiun. 

Valentino Rossi menyadari sudah tidak bisa bersaing secara kompetitif di MotoGP, tetapi merasa masih punya kemampuan melaju kencang di trek. Ia melihat balap mobil adalah sarana tepat untuk menyalurkannya.

The Doctor memilih GT World Challenge Europe (GTWCE) pada 2022 lalu sebagai batu loncatan memulai karier sebagai pembalap mobil profesional bersama Team WRT asal Belgia.

Lalu tahun lalu, ia turun dalam 24H Series, mengemudikan BMW M4 GT3. Pada balapan pertama di Dubai 24 Hour, Rossi berhasil naik podium, finis ketiga, di mana ia setim dengan pembalap Indonesia Sean Gelael.

Pada 2024, Rossi belum mau ‘injak rem’. The Doctor akan bersaing di GTWCE dan FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), memperkuat WRT.

“Saya sangat antusias berkompetisi dalam WEC. Ini langkah selanjutnya bagi saya berpartisipasi dalam kejuaraan dunia, tak hanya di Eropa, tetapi balapan secara global lagi,” tutur Rossi beberapa waktu lalu.

Di FIA WEC 2024, ia akan turun semusim penuh di kelas LMGT3. Rossi setim dengan Sean Gelael di WRT, meski beda mobil. The Doctor nanti berbagi kendaraan bersama Maxime Martin serta Ahmad Al-Harthy.

“Saya sudah terbiasa dengan mobilnya setelah musim lalu, tetapi format dengan tiga pembalap dari tiga kategori berbeda akan menjadi hal baru untuk saya,” Rossi menambahkan.

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