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Has the “retiring” of racing numbers gone out of control? This was a common view at Valencia, after news on the eve of the meeting that Loris Capirossi’s erstwhile “65” was henceforth to be retired from all three classes.

            This was a surprise to Moto3 rider Philipp Oettl, who raced with 65 all season and at Valencia; and apparently also to other sections of officialdom, who on the same day released next year’s entry lists, with Oettl again entered under that number.

            It turned out to be something of a storm in a teacup, or at least a slip of the tongue, but Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. The retirement was only from the premier class; and (confusingly) the number had already been retired, forcing Stefan Bradl to go from “65” to “6” when he moved up from Moto2.

            Capirossi became the youngest-ever World Champion when he won the 125 title in his debut title at the age of 17 in 1990. He added one more 125 crown, and a controversial 250 title, after a collision with team-mate and points leader Tetsuya Harada put the Japanese Aprilia rider out of the final race in Argentina. He went on to win nine premier-class races between 1996 and 2007, riding for Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and Suzuki; with his best championship position fourth in 2003, with Ducati.

            After retirement he became Dorna’s safety officer, a position he still holds.

            This is the second number to be retired this year, after Marco Simoncelli’s “58” was removed from the MotoGP class at the Misano round.

            The practice began in 1995, when Kevin Schwantz quit mid-season, and number “34” was frozen on the spot.

By Michael Scott