At 42, Valentino Rossi is one of the oldest sportsmen to still be competing at the highest level but wants to remain in MotoGP until the end of 2022.
The Doctor begins his 21st season in the premier class this weekend in Qatar and only his second as a satellite rider - though arguably his first year in 500s was as works as you can get without the name.
“I have a few wrinkles and a few white hair, but as long as I feel good, I won’t give up. My goal is to ride another two years, but a lot will depend on what happens in 2021,” said Rossi, who champions the Petronas Yamaha this year,
“If I can have fun and fight for the podium or the win, if I’m in the top five, then I’ll keep going.”
The Italian has also revealed his biological clock is ticking and he would like to have a child with girlfriend Francesca Novello, who is 27.
“I would like to have a child, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I think I’ve found the right woman. A child or two, I can well imagine that.
“I had a lot of girlfriends with whom I was together for a while, but I immediately understood that I would not have spent my whole life with them. I barely saved myself three or four times. But it’s different with my girlfriend today.”
Rossi is right up there with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Dara Torres, Tiger Woods, Bernard Hopkins, George Foreman and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as an athlete who could still cut it even as middle age galloped toward them.