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Valentino Rossi

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Valentino Rossi was born in Urbino, Italy on 16 February 1979. He is the son of the former Italian Champion motorcyclist, Graziano Rossi.

Nicknamed "The Doctor", Valentino Rossi's first 125cc Grand Prix was in Malaysia 1996 and in the same year he had his first victory in the Czech GP.

Valentino Rossi is the youngest rider to have won the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc world titles.

Rossi joined Honda in 1999 and had a very succesful run with the manufacturer. After winning three consecutive world titles Rossi left Honda and joined Yamaha and immediately helped turn them around.

Rossi won his first race with Yamaha and what's more he won the MotoGP championship yet again. There is no doubting Rossi's unparalleled ability as Yamaha's bike is widely regarded as inferior to some of its competitors including Honda.

Forbes magazine reported that Valentino Rossi was the ninth highest paid sportsman (jointly with Lance Armstrong) in 2004 with earnings of $28m.

Valentino Rossi is based in London and is a hugely popular figure in motorcycling. In July 2005 Rossi ruled out an imminent move to Formula 1, saying:

"For next year I'm quite ok with Yamaha, but in the future I don't know what happens".

A couple of months later Valentino Rossi secured his fifth straight world title. His second place in the Malaysian Grand Prix made his position at the top of the championship standings unassailable. Previously only two other riders, Giacomo Agostini and Mick Doohan, had won the premier class of GP bike racing five times.

2006, however, did not start well for Rossi. Technical problems meant that his Yamaha was unable to finish the Shanghai MotoGP leaving Rossi well down the standings, however Steve Parrish, BBC motorbikes commentator, was amongst those still predicting that Valentino Rossi would recover.


MotoGP Record
Nationality Italian
Nicknames Rossifumi, Valentinik, The Doctor
Bike # 46
Current team Camel Yamaha Team
World Championships 7 (1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005)
Race Starts 174
Race Wins 84
Podium finishes 127
Pole positions 45
Fastest laps 69
Championship Points 3106
2006 Championship position 2nd (247 pts)

If Rossi was to justify such optimism then Yamaha had a major job on its hands. Straight after Shanghai, Rossi's bike lost power on lap 21 at Le Mans' Bugatti circuit and his departure from the French Grand Prix meant that he dropped to eighth in the overall standings.

Back in July 2006 Nicky Hayden had a 51-point advantage over Rossi, but Rossi had an amazing run to lead the standings by eight points before the last race of the season in Valencia.

However the MotoGP title eluded Valentino Rossi in 2006 when he slid out on lap five. Although he got back on his Yamaha, Rossi could only manage 13th while Hayden finished third - enough to take the title.

Valentino Rossi said that complacency was partly responsible for him failing to gain a sixth consecutive MotoGP world title last season.

Valentino Rossi told the BBC: "Last year we made mistakes because we felt unbeatable ... To come second once is good, it makes you come back more focused." In March 2007, Valentino Rossi won the Spanish MotoGP, his first race since Malaysia in September 2006. It was his 85th win and made him championship leader.

 

Valentino Rossi point of view

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