“The Doctor” is considered the greatest rider to have ever graced a motorcycle, mastering and winning world championships in all GP classes. His enigmatic charm and cheeky character have gained him millions of fans worldwide, and they’ll be cheering him on this season to win his 8th Moto GP title for Yamaha.
Born for speed and having a sixth sense when he’s travelling in excess of 200 mph, Rossi is also an ace on four wheels. Although a master on two wheels, Rossi began racing in karting championships.
In between racing in GP he tested for Ferrari at Valencia in 2006, setting a lap time only 1 second shy of Michael Schumacher’s, and at a time the 7 times world champion was on form and at the team. He also outperformed drivers Mark Webber, Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard. Rossi being Rossi performed some unauthorised tyre-smoking doughnuts and received a stern chastising from the Scuderia garage.
Rally is also a massive love for Valentino, and he’s no stranger to throwing four wheels around a forest. In fact, he’s competed in the 2002 Rally Wales GB, although he crashed after 17KM.
2006 saw him behind the wheel of a Subaru in Rally New Zealand, and in off-season testing in Monza, he beat his idol and teacher, Colin McRae. In same year he won the annual Monza Rally in a Ford Focus RS WRC 04, beating former WRC champion Didier Auriol. He also won the event in 2007.
After a six-year gap, Rossi returned to compete in the 2008 Wales GB Rally to make up for the embarrassing crash in 2002. In a Ford Focus RS WRC, he managed an impressive 7th stage result and 12th overall.
Valentino’s latest ventures in rallying saw him win a third victory at 2012’s Monza Rally Show in a Ford Fiesta, winning both the main event and the Master Show knock-out competition.
Although Rossi says he’s too old for F1 after he retires from Moto GP, he has made positive comments about seriously taking on more four-wheel action: “As I’ve said in the past, when I finish in motorcycles I will do some programme in rallying. Maybe not the full world championship because it’s very hard, but maybe a programme of six or seven races in a season.”
Let’s hope he does eventually make the transition; it’ll be great watching him in more rally competitions. But for now, it’s good to see him back on a Yamaha after his two-year lull at Ducati.