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MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi retired at the end of last year. Picture: REUTERS
MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi retired at the end of last year. Picture: REUTERS

MotoGP says it will retire Italian great Valentino Rossi's number 46 from the championship at his home grand prix in Tuscany in two weeks’ time.

Rossi won nine world titles, including seven in the top tier, registering 115 race wins and 235 podium finishes before he called time on his career last year after a quarter of a century in grand prix racing.

A showman on and off the bike and famed for his post-victory antics, “The Doctor” last won a race in 2017 with Yamaha in the Dutch TT at Assen. The 43-year-old will attend a ceremony at the Mugello circuit on May 28 to retire the number, MotoGP said.

Rossi is now competing in the GT World Challenge in Europe with Belgian outfit WRT, while his VR46 Racing Team made its premier class debut this season with riders Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.

Frenchman Fabio Quartararo retained his lead in the championship after placing fourth at this past weekend’s French MotoGP at Le Mans.

The Yamaha rider has 102 points, four ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro who finished third on Sunday. Le Mans race winner Enea Bastianini (Ducati) is third in the championship, eight points behind Quartararo.

It was Bastianini’s third win of the season and he finished ahead of Ducati’s Jack Miller. SA’s Brad Binder (KTM) was eighth.

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