Valentino Rossi, the ultimate idol of international motorcycle racing, is one of the most talented and successful motorcycle racers of all time. With a passion for racing from a young age, he won his first world title at the age of 18. Since then, he never missed a race and set one record after another. Undoubtedly, he is well on his way to becoming a motorcycle legend, or rather, he already is! The Italian sensation, who turned 34 this year, is also known to be a bit superstitious, especially before taking part in a race. His so-called pre-ride rituals include bending over and holding the right footrest of his bike with his head down. To this he once said, “It’s just a moment to concentrate and ‘talk’ to my bike, like I’m going from one place to another.” Today he is one of the most famous celebrities and one of the greatest athletes. His achievements in the sport make him the most successful racer of all time. However, this coveted racer is very discreet about his personal life and likes to keep himself off the radar. Read more about his life, career and amazing achievements in the following article.
Childhood & early life
Valentino is the son of Graziano Rossi, who was also once a motorcycle racer. As a child, he was given a kart instead of a bicycle because his mother was worried about her son’s safety.
When he was five, the 60cc engine of his kart was replaced with a 100cc engine for more speed, and in 1990 he won the local kart championship.
By the end of 1991, he was an expert in minibike driving and won many awards.
He participated in the national kart championships in Parma and finished fifth in the race. In 1993, his father enlisted the help of his former racing friends, including Claudio Lusuardi, who managed the Cagiva Sport Production Team, to provide his son with a Cagiva Mito 125cc motorcycle.
He crashed with his first bike, although he was allowed to participate in the Italian Sport Production Championship, where he initially showed a reasonable performance, but later won the title in 1994.
- After winning the championship, he was trained to ride 125cc race bikes and won the Italian 125cc championship in 1995. He also raced in the 125cc European Championship, where he finished third.
- His next step was big and ambitious, that is, he participated in the 1996 World Championship in the Malaysian Grand Prix, where he finished 9th.
- However, he won the 125cc World Championship in Aprilia in 1997, becoming the youngest rider ever to win the championship.
- In 1998 he started racing 250cc and finished second in the World Championship, which was won by Loris Capirossi.
- He won the 250cc World Championship held in 1999 in Aprilia, where he won his first world title.
- In 2000 he signed up with Honda to race in the 500cc class and was mentored by Michael Doohan, a former 500cc world champion. He raced that year and finished second to Kenny Roberts, Jr.
- The 500 cc World Championship held its final race in 2001 and Rossi, who finished second the previous year, finished first and took the championship.
- In 2004 he signed with Yamaha and competed in the inaugural season of the Grand Prix in South Africa. He won the championship, becoming the first rider to win consecutive premier class championships, representing two different manufacturers.
- Of the 16 races held that season, he won nine, securing the world title.
- The year 2005 was extremely good, as he won a total of eleven races and also became world champion that year.
- In 2006, however, he finished second behind Honda’s Nicky Hayden by five points. It was only the second time in his racing career in the premier class that he finished second.
- The year 2007 was a bit bumpy for him, as he could only win four races due to several technical problems. He also injured himself in one of the races and finished third in the world championship that year, his lowest performance since his first championship win.
- In 2008 he regained his reputation by winning the MotoGP title, winning nine races.
- The following year was also very fruitful, but in 2010 he suffered another injury, breaking his leg during practice at Mugello. He finished third in the championship and missed four races that season.
- In 2011, he left longtime sponsor Yamaha to sign a two-year contract with Ducati.
- However, in mid-2012 he announced he would return to Yamaha at the end of the season.
Awards & successes
In 2005, the Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, he won his 7th world championship and fifth consecutive MotoGP title. In that year, he achieved a place among only five riders in the history of motorcycle racing to win the premier class title five times.
Through 2013, he has won a total of 106 races, including 80 500cc/MotoGP championships.
Personal life & legacy
In 2007 he was suspected of tax evasion, for which he paid 35 million euros to the Italian tax office to reach a settlement.
He is a fan of the Italian soccer club Internazionale, who congratulated him on his ninth World Cup victory via their website in October 2009.
This renowned motorcycle world champion from Italy is nicknamed “The Doctor”.
He has always raced under race number 46, which also happens to be his father’s race number during his racing days.