Originally Posted by Pantah
Valentino Rossi still got paid. According to Forbes, he still made over $20 million and is the highest paid rider in the sport. Regarding star pro athletes, money is still the primary measure of their status. When they can't get the contracts of the size they feel they are worth, they usually retire.
Athletes are in a crossover zone between 'normal' highly paid people and entertainers. The lawyer, executive or hedge funder needs the massive payout for bragging rights among his peers, but the entertainer wants to be famous. Those craving fame wake up everyday thinking about how they can be more famous, not just richer (see Paris Hilton).
Rossi already has the money (and peer respect) so he is working on his legacy. That's why he went to Ducati in the first place - right?
If Yamaha offered him the #1 rider position, he would do it for free.