Valentino Rossi says his first experience of the MotoGP Virtual Race “was really strange” but relished racing against some of his regular rivals.

The 41-year-old was initially announced in the rider line-up for the inaugural MotoGP Virtual Race before later withdrawing, but returned for the second race to compete in the 10-lap Red Bull Ring event held on the MotoGP19 video game.

Rossi, thought to be one of the least experienced riders with the video game, qualified last in 10th place but fought his way up the pack to take on Danilo Petrucci for a final corner fight for sixth place. The nine-time world champion went for a bold overtake but ended up crashing which left him in seventh place at the finish. Francesco Bagnaia claimed victory ahead of Rossi’s team-mate Maverick Vinales.

“Having a MotoGP Race on the PlayStation was really strange! It was a new experience for me,” Rossi said. “I like playing online with friends, but I'm more competitive with four-wheel games.

“However, I had a lot of fun. I tried to fight!”

While Rossi remains eager to return to real racing, he has urged all MotoGP fans to follow health authority instructions amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a quicker return to normality.

Currently, the 2020 MotoGP season is set to resume on June 21 with Sachsenring provisionally hosting the opening race for the premier class. But the MotoGP season is set to be reshuffled by organisers looking to salvage the majority of the postponed races.

“I hope all the MotoGP fans had a good time. We need to continue to respect the quarantine rules, we have to stay at home so we can go back to ‘normal life’ as soon as possible,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the fans again next time I do a virtual race.”

While MotoGP is yet to confirm if a third Virtual Race will take place and who will be involved, another race is expected to be set up in two weeks’ time to coincide with the launch of the new MotoGP video game.

 

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