After four seasons, three world titles and 33 premier-class victories, the partnership between Honda and the charismatic Valentino Rossi has finally come to an end with a final victory on the RC211V.

After four seasons, three world titles and 33 premier-class victories, the partnership between Honda and the charismatic Valentino Rossi has finally come to an end with a final victory on the RC211V.

A blistering qualifying session and pole ensured the rider the BMW Award for the MotoGP Best Qualifier 2003 and after a relatively poor start things started heating up.

But towards the end, with barely a tenth separating their lap times, a definite Rossi/Gibernau battle was being fought at the front. As Rossi fought to end his Honda career with a victory, Sete Gibernau was intent on upholding the Spanish hopes as well as showing his desire to perhaps replace his archrival at Honda next season.

Rossi eventually secured his win by a 0,681sec victory over Gibernau before starting his famous celebrations, donning an Afro and over-sized sunshades with his crew.

After the race, Rossi made his announcement that he would not be racing for Honda at next years championship when he revealed that he had achieved everything he could on the V5 and was looking forward to racing against it next season.

"I have to say thank you very much to Honda. It is true. Next year we don't race together," he began his announcement, reported crash.net.

"Together we start in 2000 with a new challenge with the 500. There were many problems to start with. We win 11 races and the championship. It was a great championship as it was the last of the 500's. To win the last 500cc race was like a dream. Maybe one of the best races of my career.”

"This year was great for me. We had a good second part of the championship. At a point after Sepang the idea arrived about making a change because we win in the dry, we win in the wet, we win at circuits I like and like today, we win at circuits I have not had such good luck at in the past. We finish our work with the bike.

"My work on (the RCV) is now finished. I am a HRC rider until the 31st December so I cannot comment yet on which bike I will be riding, but I can say that it will be a big challenge - it maybe even seems a little crazy right now!" was all Vale would say of his future - almost certain to be with Yamaha. "I think all the journalists, fans and everybody involved in this sport is very happy because next year will be a great fight.

"I have just one more small request, would Honda please let me test the new 2004 machine before I leave!" he joked.

HRC sporting manager Carlo Fiorani admitted that Honda had tried everything to keep Rossi, but that ultimately they were unable to offer the new challenge he seeks.

"I'd like to publicly thank Valentino for all the success and fun we've had over the last four years. The Honda / Rossi partnership has been an incredible one. Together we have won three World Championships, three Manufacturers Titles and 33 races in four very special years.

However, Yamaha - the team Rossi is expected to join - has now issued a statement claiming that they have yet to sign the five-times world champion, although talks are progressing well and they 'hope to conclude an agreement within the immediate future'.

"We welcome this evening's news that the Honda - Valentino Rossi relationship has drawn to a close,” began a statement from Fortuna Yamaha team director Davide Brivio. "As many people know, when it became clear that there was a possibility that Valentino would not renew his agreement with Honda we made contact with his management team.

Original article from Car