Valentino Rossi, (born
February 16, 1979 in Urbino), is an
Italian professional motorcycle
racer and multiple MotoGP
He is one of the most successful motorcycle
racers of all time, with 9 Grand Prix
to his name. According to Sports Illustrated
, Rossi is one of the
highest earning sports personalities in the world, having earned an
estimated $34 million in 2007.
Following his father, Graziano Rossi
Rossi started racing in Grand Prix
in the 125cc
category and won his first World Championship the following year.
From there, he moved up to the 250cc category with Aprilia
and won the 250cc World
in 1999. He won the 500cc World
in 2001, the
MotoGP World Championships (also with Honda) in 2002 and 2003, and
continued his streak of back-to-back championships by winning the
after leaving Honda
to join Yamaha
, before regaining the title in
retaining it in 2009
Rossi is first in all time 500 cc/MotoGP
wins standings, with 77 victories, and second in all time overall
wins standings with 103 race wins (behind Giacomo Agostini
The early years
Valentino Rossi was born in Urbino, then the family moved to
Tavullia. Son of Graziano Rossi
former motorcycle racer, he first began riding at a very young
Rossi's first racing love was go-karts
Fuelled by his mother, Stefania's, concern for her son's safety,
Graziano purchased a go-kart as substitute for the bike. However,
the Rossi family trait of perpetually wanting to go faster prompted
a redesign; Graziano replaced the 60cc motor with a 100cc national
kart motor for his then 5-year-old son.
Graziano attempted to forge documents in an attempt to get
Valentino's junior kart licence one year before he was legally
allowed (he was nine at the time), but ultimately failed.
Rossi won the regional kart championship in 1990. After this he
took up minimoto
and before the end of 1991
had won numerous regional races.
continued to race karts and finished fifth at the national kart
championships in Parma.
Valentino and Graziano had started looking at moving into the
Italian 100cc series, as well as the corresponding European series,
which most likely would have pushed him into the direction of
. However, the high cost of
racing karts led to the decision to race minimoto exclusively .
Through 1992 and 1993, Valentino continued to learn the ins and
outs of minimoto racing.
As Rossi soon started to outgrow minimoto, a proper motorcycle was
required. In 1993, he acquired a Cagiva
125cc motorcycle, which was damaged in a first-corner
crash no more than a hundred metres from the pit lane. He finished
ninth that race weekend.
his first season in the Italian Sport Production Championship was
varied, he achieved a pole position in the season's final race at
Misano, where he
would ultimately finish on the podium.
By the second year,
Rossi had been provided with a factory Mito by Cagiva team manager
and managed to win
the Italian title.
In Rossi's youth one of his heroes was the late former WRC Champion
. Rally legend McRae taught
Rossi the basics of driving a rally car. The two competed against
each other at Monza in 2005, with McRae driving a Skoda Fabia WRC
and Rossi winning in a Subaru Impreza WRC.
The World Championship era
In 1994, Aprilia
by way of Sandroni, used
Rossi to improve its RS125R and in turn allowed him to learn how to
handle the fast new pace of 125cc racing. At first he found himself
on a Sandroni in the 1994 Italian championship and continued to
ride it through the 1995 European and Italian championships.
Rossi had some success in the 1996
Championship season, failing to finish five of the season's races
and crashing several times. Despite this, in August he won his first
World Championship Grand Prix at Brno in the Czech
Republic on an AGV
He finished the
season in ninth position and proceeded to dominate the 125cc World
Championship in the following 1997
winning 11 of the 15 races.
the Aprilia RS250 was reaching its pinnacle and had a team of
riders in Valentino Rossi, Loris
and Tetsuya Harada
death of two of his friends in a car accident also took a toll. He
later concluded the 1998 250cc season in second place, only three
points behind Capirossi. In 1999, however, he won the title,
collecting 5 pole positions and 9 wins.
Rossi was rewarded in 2000 for his 250cc World Championship by
being given a ride with Honda
in what was then
the ultimate class in World Championship motorcycle racing, 500cc.
had shown him the
and was convinced that the
pairing of it with Rossi would bring nothing but success. Retired
500cc World Champion Michael Doohan
who also had Jeremy Burgess as chief engineer, worked with Rossi as
his personal mentor in his first year at Honda. It would also be
the first time Rossi would be racing against Max Biaggi
, another Italian to whom he was often
compared by the racing press. It would take nine races before Rossi
would win on the Honda but, like his previous seasons in 125 and
250, it bode well for a stronger second season as he finished
second to American Kenny Roberts,
Rossi won his first 500cc World Championship in 2001 (winning 11
races) in the final year of that class. In the following year,
500cc two-strokes were still allowed, but 2002 saw the beginning of
the 990cc four-stroke Moto GP class, after which the 500cc machines
were essentially obsolete. In that year Rossi teamed up with
American rider Colin Edwards
Suzuka 8 Hours
endurance race aboard
a Honda VTR1000SPW
. The pair won the
race despite Rossi's lack of experience racing superbikes
The inaugural year for the MotoGP bikes was 2002, when riders
experienced teething problems getting used to the new bikes. Rossi
won the first race and went on to win eight of the first nine races
of the season, eventually claiming 11 victories in total.
It was more of the same in 2003 for Rossi's rivals when he claimed
nine pole positions as well as nine GP wins to claim his third
consecutive World Championship. The Australian GP at Phillip
Island in 2003 is considered by many observers to be one
of Rossi's greatest career moments due to unique
After being given a 10-second penalty for
overtaking during a yellow flag due to a crash by Ducati
rider Troy Bayliss
, front runner Rossi proceeded to
pull away from the rest of the field, eventually finishing more
than 15 seconds ahead, more than enough to cancel out the penalty
and win the race.
From Honda to Yamaha
There was much speculation during the second half of the 2003
season about Rossi's plans for the future. Some people suspected
that he would succeed in his bid to claim a third consecutive title
and wondered where he would go in the future. His contract with
Honda was up at the end of the year and there were rumors that
Rossi had become somewhat disillusioned with his ride at Honda. His
tenure at Honda had effectively run its course; he had provided
Honda with a 500 cc World Championship as well as consecutive
MotoGP World Championships.
Partnered with increased scepticism that the reason for his success
was the dominance of the RC211V rather than Rossi, it was
inevitable that Honda and Rossi would part. Mid-season rumors
pointed towards a possible move to Ducati
, which sent the Italian press
into a frenzy; the concept of the great Italian on the great
Italian bike seemed too good to be true. Ducati did indeed try to
seduce Rossi into riding their MotoGP bike, the Desmosedici
, but for numerous reasons Rossi
passed the offer up. Critics say that compared to the other
manufacturers, Ducati had a significant way to go before being
competitive even with Rossi at the helm. This proved to be the
truth with Ducati's lackluster performance in the 2004 season,
which had actually been worse than their inaugural year in MotoGP
In his 2005 autobiography, "What If I'd Never Tried It?", Rossi
offers another reason for choosing Yamaha over Ducati, saying that
the mindset at Ducati Corse was a little too similar to the one he
was trying to escape from at Honda.
Ultimately, Rossi signed a two-year contract with rivals Yamaha
reportedly worth in excess of (U.S) $12 million; a price no other
manufacturer, even Honda, was willing to pay.
His fiercest critics claimed that on an inferior machine (the
), Rossi would not be
able to recreate his World Championship wins of the previous years,
especially with increased development of the RC211V and the likes
of Max Biaggi
and Sete Gibernau
on Hondas. The RC211V was a
superior machine in almost every aspect although it was guaranteed
that the gap would shrink with the defection of Rossi and Jeremy
Burgess (chief mechanic for Rossi at Honda, whom Rossi had also
convinced to join). The 2004 season would give Rossi the ability to
show everyone, especially his critics, what he was made of and
provide him with an opportunity to prove that it was his talent
rather than his bike that won him his championships.
traditional first race of the season at Suzuka off the list
due to safety considerations, the 2004 season started at Welkom in South
Africa. Rossi won 8 more GP wins during the season,
battling Sete Gibernau ferociously until Rossi eventually closed
the door on Sete's hopes in the penultimate race of the season at
Gibernau and Rossi had become bickering
enemies during the course of the season; whereas in previous
seasons they had been competitive but friendly rivals, various
disputes arose during 2004 which led to their falling apart.
would continue to rub salt into the wound for both Gibernau and
Honda by winning the ultimate race of the season at Valencia.
It was a painful blow to both Gibernau and
Honda; Gibernau, so close to a World Championship, and Honda,
starting to become aware of what they had let go. Valentino Rossi
ended up with 304 points to Gibernau's 257, with Max Biaggi 3rd
with 217 points.
In 2005 Grand
Prix motorcycle racing season
, Rossi captured his 7th World
Championship and 5th straight MotoGP Championship. He finished with
a total of 367 points, an incredible 147 points ahead of 2nd place
finisher Marco Melandri
(220 pt), and Nicky Hayden
finishing 3rd with 206 points.
The 2006 MotoGP
started off with Rossi, once again, being the favorite
to take the Championship, but he had trouble in the first half of
the season. Rossi finished 14th in Jerez
, making a comeback
after Toni Elias pushed him at the very first corner, and had a
pair of DNFs in Shanghai
and Le Mans
due to tyre and
electronic problems respectively. Nicky
held the points lead throughout most of the season, but
Rossi was slowly working his way up the points ladder. It wasn't
when Rossi finally grabbed 2nd in the points race behind Hayden. In
, the second to last race of the season, Hayden was
taken out by his teammate, Dani
, and did not finish the race. This led to Rossi taking
the points lead with only one race left in the season. Rossi
crashed early in Valencia
last race, and Hayden went on to win the 2006 MotoGP Championship.
Rossi finished the season in 2nd place.
Valentino Rossi returned to MotoGP for the 2007 season
the new Yamaha YZR-M1 800 cc. In the first race in Qatar he came
second to Casey Stoner
on the Ducati Desmosedici
. In the second round
of the season Rossi won the Race with Dani Pedrosa in second place
and Colin Edwards in third giving both Yamaha riders podiums. Casey
Stoner returned to winning ways in the third and fourth races of
the season at the Turkish and Chinese grand prix on his Ducati,
which has enjoyed a top speed advantage over the rest of the field.
Another reason for Stoner's consistency during the 2007 season in
comparison with Rossi's mixed results is the advantage Ducati's
tyre supplier, Bridgestone
, appeared to
have over its rival, Michelin, who then supplied tyres for Rossi's
Rossi's 10th position at Turkey was put down to a defective tyre
and while he managed to bounce back to a second place on the podium
at China, a poor tyre recommendation from Michelin was blamed for
his 6th place finish in the wet French grand prix at Le Mans.
Bridgestone riders took all 3 places on the podium at the French
tyre giant's home race, and Rossi went on the record to say that
Michelin must urgently address various weaknesses. Rossi won at his
home race, the Italian grand prix at Mugello, ahead of Dani
Pedrosa, also Michelin-shod on his factory Honda. Championship
leader Casey Stoner was beaten to the last podium place at Mugello
by Brazilian veteran Alex Barros on a satellite Ducati with
grip on the championship loosened slightly at Catalunya and Donington, finishing second and fourth respectively to winner
Casey Stoner, however the Assen race was won by Rossi who charged
through the field from 11th on the grid after a poor wet qualifying
session to challenge and eventually beat Casey Stoner to the
chequered flag by 1.5 seconds.
At the half-way point of the
2007 season Rossi was the closest challenger to Casey Stoner's
title aspirations, trailing by 21 world championship points. In the
month of June, commonly called "Rossi's month" with races
consisting of Mugello, Catalunya, Donington Park and Assen, both
Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner have scored 83 points each; 2 x
1st place, 1 x 2nd place and 1 x 4th place. This has been done in
conditions favourable to the Italian manufacturer and in some cases
left Rossi on the fourth row with a point to prove.
Sachsenring saw a disastrous performance from the Italian. After
qualifying fourth on the grid, whilst Stoner took pole, Rossi had
to use raceday to his advantage. Come Sunday, Rossi lined up with a
fever of 102 degrees and dropped down to 8th by the end of the
first lap. A pass on Randy de Puniet
at the tight Omega corner saw Rossi lose the front, catch it then
lose it completely and skid off into the gravel where his right
hand clip on was damaged leaving him out of the race on lap 6.
Luckily problems for Bridgestone in the blistering heat saw Stoner
finish 5th stretching his championship lead by 11 points to 32
ahead of "The Doctor". A visit to Laguna Seca for the USGP, Rossi finished 4th place behind
Stoner, Vermeulen, and Melandri respectively.
The end to the summer break in the 2007 season landed the MotoGP
paddock at Brno, with various new changes to the Fiat Yamaha.
Qualifying 6th for the race start on Sunday morning after
struggling in free practice, Rossi spent his rear Michelin early on
in the race chasing Capirossi to make it up to 5th. Eventually tyre
issues got the best of the 7 times world champion and Rossi crossed
the finish line in 7th, a whole 22 seconds behind 1st place man
Casey Stoner. This left Rossi 60 points behind the Championship
leader with only 150 points up for grabs.
Misano saw Rossi starting from 2nd on the grid behind Casey Stoner.
An engine failure five laps in resulted in Rossi falling 85 points
behind Stoner as he finished first.
A start from 3rd on the grid in Estoril ended in a no holds barred
race with Pedrosa as they both accelerated out of the last corner
sideways for Rossi to take the race win and gain 9 points in the
World Championship on Stoner who finished in third.
Rossi changed to Bridgestone tyres. The season started slowly with
a fifth place finish in Qatar, but he took his first win in
Shanghai, and also won the next two races. Mid-season, Stoner's
Ducati seemed too strong for him, but Rossi took many second
places, excluding the Dutch round at Assen, where he crashed on the
first lap and finished 11th. Rossi then won at Laguna Seca after an
incredible pass down the corkscrew over Stoner, who crashed but
continued and took the second place. Stoner crashed out from the
lead in next two races whilst under pressure from Rossi, and failed
to score, while Rossi won both. After winning a rain-shortened race
in Indianapolis, once again completing the achievement that he has
won in every current circuit in the calendar, he needed only third
place in Motegi to win. He won at Motegi too, his first win there
with a four-stroke bike, clinching his first title in 800cc MotoGP,
sixth in premier category, and eighth in total.
On June 8, 2009, Valentino Rossi rode a Yamaha around the famous
Isle of Man TT Course in an exhibition lap along-side fellow
Italian motorcycle legend Giacomo
, in what was called 'The Lap of the Gods'.
27 2009, at the Dutch
TT in Assen, he clinched
his 100th victory, becoming the second rider in motorcycle grand
prix history to reach 100 wins.
Earlier in his career Max Biaggi
considered Rossi's main rival. At one time his website didn't even
have Max's name; instead a glaring "XXX XXXXXX" was placed wherever
his name should have appeared. Although they hadn't even raced
against each other until 2000, the rivalry between the two had been
growing since the mid-'90s. The rivalry has started to die down
over recent years due to Rossi 's consecutive World Championships
and Biaggi's struggle to find support and a consistent rhythm with
his races. Biaggi looked to improve on recent results with a ride
with Honda's factory team in 2005. However, he was off the team and
unemployed once the 2006 season rolled around.
In his autobiography "What If I Had Never Tried It", Rossi makes a
number of claims about the reasons for his rivalry with Biaggi, and
some of the incidents which led to its escalation. The rivaly was
also featured in the 2003 documentary
During one incident at Suzuka in 2001, Rossi alleges that Biaggi
elbowed him on the straightway at 220 km/h to prevent him from
overtaking. This caused Rossi to lose a lot of time and drop
several places, but he managed to make up the time and eventually
overtook Biaggi to win the race. As he overtook Biaggi, he took his
left hand from the handlebars of his bike and gave Biaggi the
By the time the 2001 season had moved to Barcelona, the animosity
from Suzuka had festered. After the race (which Rossi won), the
pair got into a fist-fight before the podium presentation. The
tension was evident in the press conference, although the media
hadn't yet found out what had happened. The Dorna officials took
Rossi and Biaggi aside immediately after the press conference and
ordered them not to talk about the incident, and to play it down.
Neither rider was sanctioned for the incident.
At the next Grand Prix in Assen, Honda organized a press conference
to put the events of Barcelona behind them. Rossi and Biaggi shook
hands in front of the media, and that effectively ended the feud.
After that, although they have had run-ins on track, the media
frenzy surrounding them and any incidents off-track calmed
Rossi's main rival in the 2003/2004/2005 seasons was Sete Gibernau
, riding with Team Gresini's
Movistar Honda team on a satellite RC211V in 2004 and then on an
all but in name factory RC211V, which Gibernau helped to develop,
in 2005. Initially they were quite friendly in the paddock and off
- Gibernau partied on occasions with Rossi at the Italian's Ibiza
villa - but a souring in their relationship began in the 2004
season and culminated in the "Qatar Incident" that same season when
Rossi's team was penalized for "cleaning" his grid position to aid
in traction, along with Honda Pons' Max Biaggi, and both riders
were subsequently forced to start from the back of the grid. A
number of teams, including Gibernau's Team Gresini and the official
Repsol Honda factory team, appealed successfully to race direction
for Rossi to be sanctioned. Rossi and his chief mechanic, Jeremy
Burgess, insisted that they were doing nothing more than what many
others had done before when faced with a dirty track and Rossi
accused Gibernau of being behind the move to appeal for a sanction,
something the Spaniard categorically denied.
Since then the two have not spoken and Rossi seemed to resolve to
use the incident to apply psychological pressure on Gibernau. He is
said to have sworn that after the Qatar race, which Gibernau won
while Rossi crashed out after rising to 6th position, he would do
everything to make sure that Gibernau never stood on the highest
step of the podium again.Gibernau retired from Grand Prix racing
after an unsuccessful, injury blighted 2006 season with Ducati and
he never won another race after Qatar, prompting some in the
Spanish and Italian motorcycle racing media to explain this fact by
way of reference to the "Qatar curse." But he returned at the end
of 2008, after tests on the 2008 Ducati convinced him that he could
still be competitive in MotoGP, and signed to ride a Ducati in
In 2007, Casey Stoner
emerged as a
rival for Rossi. Coupled with a Ducati, the young Australian won
the first race of the year, followed by many more victories
resulting in his claiming of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship
title.Stoner's and Rossi's rivalry came to a dramatic climax at
Laguna Seca in 2008. After numerous position changes, Rossi
attempted to overtake Stoner through the corkscrew. This bold move
caused Rossi to run wide into the gravel, and his rejoining the
track came close to causing a collision between the two riders. A
few laps later Stoner went into the gravel on the slow entry into
turn 11, yet picked up the bike to finish second while Rossi took
the win. After this, Casey Stoner made the comment 'I have lost
respect for one of the greatest riders in history'. For the
comment, Stoner apologized to Rossi at the next race.
Valentino Rossi has had numerous nicknames during his racing
career. His first prominent nickname was "Rossifumi." Rossi
explained the etymology of this nickname as a reference and tribute
to fellow rider Norifumi Abe
His next nickname appeared some time around his days racing in the
250 cc World Championship. The nickname "Valentinik" was a
reference to the Italian Donald Duck
Since his dominance in 500 cc and MotoGP, Rossi has used the
nickname "The Doctor." This has been attributed to his "cold and
clinical dismantling of his opponents" as well as his cool and calm
composure in racing compared to his frenetic days in 125 cc and 250
cc where his performance was erratic and dangerous, resulting in
numerous crashes. Two theories prevail as to why Rossi is entitled
to "The Doctor." One is that Rossi adopted the nickname upon having
earned a degree, which in Italy entitles one to use the title
"Doctor.." Another, as spoken by Graziano himself, "The Doctor
because, I don't think there is a particular reason, but it's
beautiful, and is important, The Doctor. And in Italy, The Doctor
is a name you give to someone for respect, it's very important, The
Doctor... important". Although Valentino often jokes that the name
arrived because in Italy, Rossi is a common surname for Doctors.
These days Rossi rarely crashes and in fact holds the record for
the longest streak of consecutive podiums. From September 8, 2002
to April 18, 2004, he stood on the podium at the end of all 23
races including every race in 2003.
He has always raced with the number #46 in his motorcycle grand
prix career. Rossi has stated that the original inspiration for
this choice of number was the Japanese "wild card" racer Norifumi Abe
whom he saw on television speeding
past much more seasoned riders in a wet race. He later found out
that it was the number his father had raced with in the first of
his 3 grand prix career wins, in 1979, in Yugoslavia, on a 250c
Morbidelli. Typically, a World Championship winner (and also
runner-up and third place) is awarded the #1 sticker for the next
season. However, in a homage to Barry
(who was the first rider of the modern era to keep the
same number, #7), Rossi has stayed with the now-famous #46
throughout his career. The text on his helmet refers to the name of
his group of friends: "The Tribe of the Chihuahua," and the letters
WLF on his leathers stand for "Viva La Figa," Italian for "Long
Live Pussy." He has so far escaped any sanctions or ultimatums that
he remove the letters because the "W" in "WLF" represents the two
"V"s in "ViVa". Equally obvious is his success at escaping any
disciplinary action from the FIM or Dorna for having the letters so
brazenly on the front neck area of his leathers. He traditionally
also incorporates his favorite color (fluorescent yellow) into his
leather designs. Though Rossi won the MotoGP title seven times he
never put the number 1 on his motorcycle representing the World
Champion, instead staying with his famous "46". But Rossi has worn
the #1 reserved for the reigning World Champion on the shoulder of
his racing leathers.
Fellow motorcycle racer and former team mate Colin Edwards
, as well as some TV journalists
have often referred to him as 'the GOAT' (Greatest of all Time).
Colin Edwards says this in the film 'Faster'
Plans for the future
Rumors abounded, speculating Rossi would switch from two wheels to
four wheels some time after 2008. Initially these rumours centered
on Rossi switching to Formula One and his test drives of the
Ferrari F1 car received heavy media coverage.
recently Rossi tested the Ferrari in 2006 on January 31, February
1, and February 2 at Valencia, later in 2008.
The first test saw Rossi
spin out on the damp track into the gravel trap, ending his day. On
the second day, he posted the ninth fastest time of fifteen
drivers, approximately one second behind Michael Schumacher
, who himself was third
fastest. Rossi lapped faster than seasoned drivers Red Bull Racing
's Mark Webber
and Toyota F1
's Jarno Trulli
. On the final day of testing,
Rossi was just a little more than a half second behind Schumacher's
best time. Schumacher hailed Rossi as having immense talent and
said he would be perfectly capable of moving to Formula One and
being competitive immediately.
On May 24, 2006, Rossi announced that he would be staying in MotoGP
until he felt his work on the motorbike was "finished." Ferrari
driver Schumacher said that he felt "saddened" by Rossi's decision
but supported it. Rossi subsequently signed a new contract with
Yamaha for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, then for 2009 and 2010. The
two-year contracts were notable as after leaving Honda at the end
of the 2003 season Rossi had refused to sign contracts of more than
Beyond his interest in F1, Rossi's strong passion is for rallying.
His first official foray into rallying came in 2002 at WRC Rally Great Britain
, in which he crashed
out on the second stage (first non-superspecial stage). He
subsequently raced a factory Subaru
car in the Rally of Monza in November 2005.
On October 11, 2006 it was announced that Rossi would enter that
year's Rally New Zealand
event which was to run
from November 17-19. He competed in a Subaru
finishing 11th out of 39. On
November 26 2006 Rossi also won the annual Monza Rally driving a
Ford Focus WRC
. He beat the 2005 rally victor Rinaldo Capello
by 24 seconds, winning five
of the seven stages on his way. He also managed to outpace former
Champion Didier Auriol
by seven seconds in the
head-to-head Master Show final. Rossi also announced at the 2006
Monza rally, that he would be entering the 2007 Rally of Great Britain
, however, he
later opted out. At the 2007 Monza Rally, Rossi again took first
Rossi has been linked with a move to both Formula One and the World
Rally Championship in the past 18 months, having tested for Ferrari
and competed in a number of rally events.
But Rossi decided to remain in Moto-GP; "I have a contract with
Yamaha until 2008," said Rossi. "When that finishes then we will
see. What I am sure about is that I will ride until I'm 31 or 32 at
most. I will look for new stimuli in the next few seasons, but for
now I am fully motivated.". Rossi signed a new two year contract
confirming he will be at Yamaha until 2010. He originally planned
to use the Impreza WRC2008 during his participation in the Rally GB
in December 2008, but decided to drive a
Ford Focus WRC
instead. He finished
the rally in 12th place, 13 minutes and 20.4 seconds behind
eventual winner Sebastian Loeb
Equipment and superstitions
Valentino Rossi has gone through numerous helmet designs throughout
his career, most featuring the Sun & Moon motif, signifying
(according to Rossi) the two sides of his personality. The artist
of Rossi's current helmet graphics is Aldo Drudi.
Image:Rossi Rossi46 05-06 v001.png|2004-2005 SeasonsImage:Rossi
Gothic46 v001.png|Round 1-5 2006 SeasonImage:Rossi Gothic46B
v001.png|Round 7-16 2006 Season
Valentino Rossi is a very superstitious person and his pre-ride
rituals are well known. On a race day, he will always watch the
beginning of the 125cc race (though this is actually to see how
long the starting lights remain lit before going out at the start
of the race). Prior to riding (whether racing, qualifying, or
practice), he will start his personal ritual by stopping at about 2
metres from his bike, bend over and reach his boots (thus the 2004
TV spoiler "Are you ready boots?"). Then, when arriving at his
bike, he will crouch down and hold the right-side foot-peg, with
his head bowed. In an interview, Rossi said "It’s just a moment to
focus and ‘talk’ to my bike, like moving from one place to the
next." He will also be adjusting the fit of his leathers by
standing straight up on the foot-pegs, whilst riding the pit-lane
before the start of race or practice; this may merely be a matter
of comfort, which has become a much-commented upon habit. He also
revealed in an interview with MotoGP.com that he always puts one
boot on before the other, one glove on before the other, and he
always gets on the bike the same way. He also gets off the bike in
the same way, swinging his right leg over the front of the
Tax avoidance case
In 2007, the Italian tax authorities declared Rossi was being
investigated for suspected tax evasion. Having previously
unsuccessfully investigated Rossi for tax evasion in 2002, the
authorities announced they were investigating Rossi for undeclared
revenues of 112 million euros ($160 million) between 2000 to 2004.
The officials said, against the European Taxes Agreements among
european Countries, Rossi's London residency has enabled him to
take advantage of favourable tax conditions, such as only declaring
earnings made in Britain and avoiding taxes on his lucrative
merchandising and sponsorship contracts, commenting that Rossi had:
"residency in London but is not domiciled there."
that in 2002, Rossi's Italian tax form declared earnings of 500
euros, while sponsorship contracts were all reported to be made out
to foreign companies, but with his affairs controlled mainly from
Italy. In February 2008, Rossi announced that he had reached a
settlement with the Italian tax authorities: he paid 35 million
Euros to close the tax case.
Beyond tax scandals, Rossi tries to keep his personal life out of
the public eye as much as possible, though he makes no secret of
his fondness for Italian football club Inter Milan
. After winning his
ninth World title in October 2009, Inter Milan congratulated Rossi
on their official website. Rossi is also left-handed
Rossi's famous pet dog was Guido, a British bulldog which he has
had since 2000. As Rossi frequently travels the world Guido could
not stay in London and was living with Rossi's mother in Tavullia.
Rossi could only see the dog while visiting her. Guido, whose image
has been a mascot on Rossi’s bikes and helmets, died after the 2008
Australian GP and to pay tribute to him, the new World Champion
designed a special sticker made up of Guido sporting a pair of
angel wings and floating on celestial clouds. Guido has made some
other appearances on Rossi's bike. When lagging 32 points in the
2006 championship, Guido was dressed with an Inuit suit. Guido was
also wearing a prisoner suit during the pre season tests
Guido's death has garnered so much attention that it was mentioned
in Italy's most prestigious sports newspaper the Gazzetta dello
. The Dog even starred in Quarantasei
, a graphic
novel produced by Milo Manara
containing a fictional
account of Valentino Rossi's adventures and eventual triumph in
Since Guido's death, Rossi now has two new dogs (one male and one
female), the new dogs are named Cesare and Cecilia. During the
Misano GP in 2009, right after Rossi's mistake during Indianapolis,
the two dogs were wearing donkey ears on Valentino's helmet.
Races by year
() (Races in bold
indicate pole position) (Races
indicate fastest lap)
500 cc/MotoGP records:
- All records are correct as of November 8, 2009
250 cc records:
- First in all time race wins standings with 77
- First in all time podium standings with 128
- First in most podiums in a season with 16
podiums in 2003, 2005 and 2008.
- First in most fastest laps in a season with 12
fastest laps in 2003.
- First in most points in one season with 373
points in 2008.
- First in consecutive podiums with 23
consecutive podiums, from the 2002 Portuguese GP to
the 2004 South
- Second in consecutive world championship wins with 5
consecutive world championships in 2001-2005 along with Michael Doohan with 5 consecutive world
championships in 1994-1998, behind Giacomo Agostini with 7
consecutive world championships in 1966-1972.
- Second in all time world championship wins with 7 world
championships , behind Giacomo
Agostini with 8 world championships .
- Second in all time pole positions standings with 48 pole
positions, behind Michael Doohan with 58.
- Second in all time race fastest laps standings with 63 race
fastest laps, behind Giacomo Agostini with 69.
- Second in most race wins in a season with 11 race wins in 2001,
2002 and 2005 along with Giacomo Agostini, behind Michael Doohan
with 12 race wins in 1997.
- Third in most pole positions in a season with 9 pole positions
in 2003 along with Casey Stoner and
Kevin Schwantz, behind Michael Doohan
with 12 pole positions in 1997, Wayne
Gardner and Freddie Spencer with
10 pole positions in 1987 and 1985 respectively.
125 cc records:
- Third in most race wins in a season with 9 race wins in 1999
along with Jorge Lorenzo, Marco Melandri and Max
Biaggi, behind Daijiro Kato with 11
race wins in 2001, Anton Mang and
Mike Hailwood with 10 race wins in
1981 and 1966 respectively.
- Second most podiums in a season with 12 podiums in 1999 along
with Marco Simoncelli, Jorge
Lorenzo, Marco Melandri, Shinya
Nakano, Max Biaggi, Luca Cadalora,
John Kocinski and Sito Pons, behind Dani
Pedrosa, Tetsuya Harada, Daijiro
Kato and Ralf Waldmann with 13 podiums
in 2004, 2001, 2001 and 1996 respectively.
Overall records (MotoGP/500 cc/250 cc/125
- First in most race wins in a season with 11
race wins in 1997.
- Second in most podiums in a season with 13 podiums in 1997
along with Héctor Faubel in 2007,
behind Álvaro Bautista with 14
podiums in 2006.
- First in all time points with 4026 points, the
only rider to achieve more than 4000 points in the history of the
grand prix motorcycle racing.
- First in all time podium standings with 164
- First in all time pole positions standings
with 58 pole positions along with Michael Doohan.
- Second in all time race wins standings with 103 race wins,
behind Giacomo Agostini with 122 race wins.
- Second in all time fastest laps standings with 83 fastest laps,
behind Giacomo Agostini with 117 fastest laps.
- Third in all time world championship wins with 9 world
championships along with Carlo Ubbiali
and Mike Hailwood, behind Ángel
Nieto with 13 world championships and Giacomo Agostini with 15
- the only rider to win world championships in five different
engine capacity: 125 cc, 250 cc, 500 cc, 990 cc & 800 cc.
- the only rider to win consecutive races with different
manufacturers. He won the final race of 2003 with Honda at Valencia and the
first race of 2004 with Yamaha
at Welkom (South
- the only rider to win championships with the 3 different
engines used in the premier class, 500 cc two-stroke (2001), 990 cc
four-stroke (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) and 800 cc four-stroke (2008,
only rider to win seven consecutive races at his home Grand Prix at Mugello in 2002-2008.
only rider to win three races after starting the race from 11th or
lower on the grid (British
GP 2001, German GP
2006 & Dutch
- the only rider to win the premier-class championship on four
different types of motorcycle: A Honda 500 cc four-cylinder
two-stroke (2001), Honda 990 cc five-cylinder four-stroke (2002,
2003), Yamaha 990 cc four-cylinder four-stroke (2004, 2005) and a
Yamaha 800 cc four-cylinder four-stroke (2008, 2009).
- the only rider to win at least one race in 14 consecutive
- the second rider to win consecutive world championships with
different manufacturers (2001–2003 with Honda
and 2004–2005 with Yamaha)
along with Eddie Lawson (1988 with
Yamaha and 1989 with Honda).
- the second rider in history - after Giacomo Agostini - to
regain the premier class championship after two successive
- the second rider in history - after Giacomo Agostini - to won
the premier class championships with both four-stroke and
- Yamaha's most successful rider in the premier class with 44
wins and 4 world championships (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009).
- Aprilia's most successful rider in all classes with 26 wins (12
wins in 125 cc and 14 wins in 250 cc).
- From all the active riders, he is Honda's most successful rider
in all classes with 33 wins and 3 world championships (2001, 2002,
- SI.com - The Fortunate 50
- Cool Rossi crowned world champion, BBC.
- MotoGP - Valentino Rossi - Yamaha Racing
- Valentino Rossi - Early Years
- MotoGP - Valentino Rossi - Yamaha Racing
- Youtube - Valentino Rossi vs Max Biaggi
- Brno MotoGP Stoner apologises to Rossi
- Soup :: Rossi Ninth In F1 Test Today; Feb
- Soup :: Rossi Faster On Four Wheels
- Yahoo! UK & Ireland Eurosport - Sport News |
Six Nations Rugby
- autosport.com - WRC News: Rossi would consider Fiat
- German GP - Rossi to quit in 2010 - Yahoo!
- Drudi Performance
- Zimbio Exclusive: Interview with Valentino
- Valentino Rossi in tax probe ANSA - 8 August
- Inter Milan congratulates MotoGP champions
Valentino Rossi inside World Soccer - 26 October 2009.
- some other facts on Rossi : Guido, Rossi's dog