Valentino Rossi to become a first-time father

The nine-time world champion will have a new challenge when he retires from MotoGP at the end of the season

Valentino Ross and partner Francesca Novello.
Valentino Ross and partner Francesca Novello.

Motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi, who is to retire from MotoGP racing at the end of the season, is to become a father for the first time.

On Wednesday the nine-time world champion revealed on social media that he and partner Francesca Novello are expecting a girl.

Nicknamed ‘The Doctor’, Rossi posted a picture of himself wearing a medical gown and pressing a stethoscope against Novello’s stomach.

The 42-year-old said: “After a careful visit we can tell you that Franci is pregnant! We are expecting a girl.”

Rossi, one of the greatest and most charismatic of motorcycling champions, announced earlier this month that he would end his MotoGP career at the end of 2021 and looked forward to a future in car racing.

His nine world titles include seven championships in the top category.