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Valentino Rossi #46

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He made his debut in the 125cc World Championship in 1996 with Aprilia, from the beginning he draws attention for his self-confidence and skill, but he makes the normal mistakes of a “rookie”. His first race is in the Malaysian circuit of Shah Alam, finishing in 6th position. Although he brushes the podium in Jerez, then the falls come. He reaches his first podium at the Austrian GP, ​​currently known as the Red Bull Ring, where he is third. The result gives him wings and is that at the next meeting in Brno he gets the first pole and the first victory in his sporting career. The lack of regularity weighed down his final classification, being 9th, but he had already more than shown his talent.

In Aprilia they had it clear and that is that for 1997 it passes to the official team of 125cc. He had no rivals for the crown. 11 victories, a record in the small category in a year, with a total of 13 podiums earned him his first world title, again at the GP of the Czech Republic, where in 1996 he had achieved his first victory.

In 1998 he jumps to 250cc with an official Aprilia and from the beginning he is up, although with falls that weighed down his options. He ends the year with a 4-win streak and as runner-up in the world.

In 1999 he was the top favorite in the 250cc as the number one Aprilia rider in the category. Although he had an irregular start in which Ukawa took the lead, Valentino based on podiums (12) and victories (9) rallied to become World Champion. It was his second world title and with him under his arm he went on to the premier category.

His 500cc debut attracted all the spotlight for the year 2000. A turn of the century and a change of era with his arrival. He would participate with Honda, in a satellite structure with direct factory support and with the technical team of none other than Mick Doohan, recently retired from the competition. As in his debut years in 125cc and 250cc, at the beginning he alternated brilliant performances with falls that took him away in the provisional classification. His first podium came in Jerez, the fourth round and at Donington Park, in the wet, he would get his first victory. His end of the year was brilliant to finish with 2 victories and 10 podiums, runner-up in 500cc as “rookie”.

Valentino Rossi had a very clear goal in 2001, to be the last 500cc world champion. The 2-stroke era was ending and for 2002 it would be replaced by 990cc 4-stroke motorcycles, the new MotoGP. It is his year of the most important duel against Max Biaggi, his compatriot with whom he never made good friends. Valentino gets a total of 11 victories and 13 podiums to win with force. Although everything was even until Biaggi fell in Brno, a circuit that had always given the 46 a lot of luck. Rossi is the last champion in the history of the mythical 500cc.

For 2002, already included in the official Honda team, Valentino has another new historical goal: to be the first champion in the history of MotoGP. And in this case it achieves it in a very loose way. The Honda RC211V is far superior to its rivals, together with the talent of the Urbino rider, he wins 11 races, with 15 podiums and his 4th World title at 23 years old. Breaking all the records.

In 2003, Valentino repeated with Honda but had a new rival, Sete Gibernau. They give us memorable duels but in the end the Italian prevails with 9 victories and 16 podiums. His 5th World title before surprising everyone. He decided to leave the Honda team due to a lack of communication, he did not feel comfortable or valued, to go to Yamaha where they welcome him with open arms after having achieved only 1 podium the previous year.

2004 became a historic season in his career and not precisely because of the numbers, but because he left the most powerful team and won the Yamaha. In the first race, at the South African GP, ​​he beat Biaggi, who had passed Honda within the Sito Pons team. Although again his toughest rival throughout the year would be Sete Gibernau, whom he would definitively defeat at Phillip Island to obtain his 6th World title. Not easy to win two consecutive titles with two different brands.

In 2005, with the Yamaha to his liking, Valentino totally dominates and finds himself without rivals before the sinking of Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi. Of the 17 races he achieved 11 victories and 16 podiums, only the fall in Motegi as a fiasco. Valentino seemed to have no limit and it is that at 26 years old he already added 7 World titles.

For 2006 Valentino is a complicated Yamaha and with its unreliability that would cost several abandonments in the year. Despite the difficulties, he won 5 races and reached the last, in Valencia, as the leader of the championship. It was the day that “god became a man” because Rossi failed when no one could believe him. He fell at the Doohan corner and the MotoGP title went to Nicky Hayden.

In 2007 he was confident of regaining the crown with the new 800cc bikes, but he found an immovable stone. Stoner, Bridgestone and Ducati were the dominators. Valentino tried, being the most important rival of the Australian, but the performance of the Michelin were too far to be able to compete for the maximum. He even ended up losing the runner-up, again in Valencia, to Dani Pedrosa.

For 2008 Rossi demanded that Yamaha race Bridgestone to be on an equal footing with Stoner and they did. His newcomer Jorge Lorenzo, did it with Michelin, in a strange decision that led to the famous wall between the two. With the new tires, Rossi and Yamaha return to their best version to achieve 9 victories and 16 podiums. He had regained the crown and was celebrating the 8th title with “scusate il ritardo” (sorry for the delay, after two years without being a champion).

In 2009 his greatest rival was at home, in the person of Jorge Lorenzo, who this time did wear Bridgestone tires in the new “single rubber” MotoGP with a single supplier. Although it cost him more, with only 6 victories and 13 podiums, he would get his 9th and last title to date, sending a message to those who wanted to retire him as an old man: “Old chicken makes good soup”.

In 2010 his until then almost perfect sports career began to twist. After three races in which he had won in Qatar and had not gotten off the podium, he was second in the championship after Jorge Lorenzo and the Mugello appointment arrived. There in training he would suffer a violent fall where the tibia and the right fibula were broken. He missed several races and said goodbye to the title. After his quick recovery, he would start to come back, always finishing on the podium and winning again at Sepang. It would be 3rd in the final classification. Then a brave decision would come, but one that in the future would prove to be the biggest mistake in his sports career: to go to Ducati.

The 2011 and 2012 seasons were hellish for Valentino where he would only get 3 podiums, no victories and where he never improved, being 7th and 6th in the final classification respectively.

He had to leave there and by 2013 he was returning to his home, Yamaha. The first season was of contact, where he recovered sensations with 6 podiums and the important victory in Assen after two years in the blank, to finish 4th in the final classification.

In 2014 he surprised by ending his relationship with Jeremy Burgess, his chief mechanic since his debut in the premier class in 2000, to trust his compatriot Silvano Galbusera. The combination made him recover one more gear, achieving 2 victories, 13 podiums and the runner-up in MotoGP.

By 2015, at 36 years old, Valentino was ready to fight again for the maximum. Brilliant season where he was always strong in every race, getting 4 wins and 15 podiums. Regularity and his ability in difficult circumstances were his flag to lead the entire championship until the last race in which he lost the title at the Circuit of Valencia. Probably the worst track for him. The end of the season was unfortunately punctuated by the controversy between Rossi and Márquez, which resulted in the Italian being sanctioned for the last date, where he started last. He rallied to 4th position, but his rival Lorenzo won the race. It was a very strong moral blow, Valentino who after leading all year saw the long-awaited 10th title vanish.

In 2016 he would repeat with good performance, but the atmosphere at Yamaha was not good after what he experienced the previous year. Despite having the best bike, both he and Lorenzo make mistakes with crashes while Marc Márquez is regular. In this way they lose options to the title and Valentino would repeat runner-up for the third time in a row.

In 2017 Valentino would try again, this time with a new teammate, Maverick Viñales. After several podiums he came to lead the championship but he was not happy with his Yamaha. Nail his fall on the last lap of Le Mans when he was fighting for victory against Viñales. In addition, training throughout the year, before the appointments in Mugello and Misano, he suffers strong falls that condition his physique. At the San Marino GP event, he can’t even run due to a fractured tibia and fibula. He accelerates his recovery to return to Aragon, when nobody believed it, finishing 5th in the race. He finishes the season in 5th position, his worst result with Yamaha.

For 2018 he was facing a very important year. At 39 he had to recover physically and find his way with Yamaha to make his bike competitive again in all circumstances. Although the bike was not up to him, Valentino managed to finish third in the championship, although without winning a single race. The positive news was the renewal of his contract for two more years.

  • Date of birth: February 16, 1979
  • Place of birth: Urbino (Italy)
  • Weight: 65 kilos
  • Height: 1.82 meters
  • Bike: Yamaha
  • Number: 46
  • Helmet: AGV
  • Suit: Dainese
  • Sponsors: Yamaha, GoPro, Monster, AGV, Dainese.

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