Date of birth : 1979-02-16
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Urbino, Italy
Nationality : Italian
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2012-01-17
Valentino Rossi is an Italian professional motorcycle racer and multiple MotoGP World Champion. He is one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time, with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name – seven of which are in the premier class.
Following his father, Graziano Rossi, Rossi started racing in Grand Prix in 1996 for Aprilia 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 Championship in 1999. He won the 500cc World Championship with Honda 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 2004 and 2005 titles after leaving Honda to join Yamaha, before regaining the title in 2008 and retaining it in 2009. He left Yamaha to join Ducati for the 2011 season.
Valentino was born to Graziano and Stefania on February 16, 1979, in Urbino, Italy, about a half-hour from where he grew up, in Tavullia. When one considers that Graziano was then beginning the second season of his own Grand Prix career (he earned his first win that same year), it comes as no surprise that Vale took up motorcycles as a child, first riding a mini dirt bike in his family’s backyard before he was even 3. That said, in part because Graziano’s career was cut short at just five years by an injury, his parents weren’t initially enthusiastic about the idea of their son racing motorcycles. His first competitions were in 60cc go-karts, with which he won a regional title in 1990. Nonetheless, Valentino had received a mini road racer for Christmas of 1989 (when he was 10), and he began racing it with some regularity, immediately demonstrating his considerable talent: in 1992, he earned a regional minibike championship.
After trying out a friend’s Aprilia 125 at Misano, he decided to leave karting for real motorcycle road racing, a choice his parents eventually supported. Valentino’s new career direction became possible in 1993, when Rossi turned 14—the minimum age to race a 125 in Italy. Valentino was placed on Cagiva’s Claudio Lusuardi-run team for the Sport Production 125cc class, and his first race was a regional event in Magione. It was an unfortunate debut, as Rossi crashed on the first lap, remounted, and crashed again six laps later, but he still managed to finish in ninth place. Improving steadily over the course of the season, Rossi qualified for the series finale at Misano, where he qualified on pole—ahead of the title contenders. Despite a botched start in the race, he finished on the podium.
Valentino’s performance in the ’93 season finale earned him a factory Cagiva the next year, and Graziano also entered him in the Italian GP series aboard a Sandroni 125. In the second Sport Production race—again at Misano—Rossi posted the first victory of his career, and he would go on to earn the national title in that class. Meanwhile, campaigning the Italian GP series allowed him to also learn the ropes on real race bikes, experience that would prove valuable in ’95. That’s when Vale signed a three-year deal with Aprilia in a Mauro Noccioli-run team and advanced to the European championship, which at the time ran concurrently with the Continental rounds of the world championship Grand Prix series. Valentino easily won the crown in the Italian series, which he continued to compete in, and although he crashed often on the international stage, he still managed to take third in the final points of the European championship, virtually guaranteeing him a move to world championship racing.
Rossi made his Grand Prix debut in 1996 aboard an Aprilia RS125, still in Noccioli’s squad. He finished an impressive sixth at the season opener in Malaysia, and by the fourth round, in Spain, he was fighting for the podium, an objective he eventually achieved at the tenth round, in Austria. Vale took his first pole position at the very next race, in Brno, and followed that up the next day by climbing the top step of the podium. Valentino completed his rookie year ninth in the final points.
Still with Aprilia, Valentino dominated his sophomore year: he collected eleven victories in the fifteen races, in all kinds of conditions (in the other four, he crashed out of one, finished on the podium in two, and finished sixth in the other. Gathering four pole positions along the way, Rossi earned his first world championship in the 125cc class with an eighty-three-point margin.
For 1998, Rossi advanced to the 250cc class, riding for the Aprilia team run by Rossano Brazzi. He collected three second-place finishes in the first six races before notching his first victory, at Assen. His wins at the last four races of the year—Imola, Catalonia, Phillip Island, and Argentina—left him just short of the title, three points behind compatriot Loris Capirossi.
Rossi showed his competition no mercy the next year, and with nine race wins and three additional podium finishes, he collected the quarter-liter class title, confirming his dominance and growing his popularity even further.
The 2000 season brought Valentino Rossi’s passage to the 500cc class, along with the start of what would prove to be a long partnership with the Australian crew chief Jeremy Burgess. It took the 21-year-old some time to come to terms with the power delivery of the four-cylinder “screamer,” but he nonetheless earned ten podiums that year (including wins at Donington Park and Rio) and finished runner-up to Kenny Roberts Jr. in the final points standings. That same year, Valentino made his debut in the Suzuka 8 Hours with Colin Edwards, but after both riders crashed, they pulled out of the race.
Continuing his established routine of learning a class for one season before topping it the next, Rossi added the prestigious 500cc crown to his résumé in 2001 by notching no fewer than eleven race wins, plus a further two podium finishes. It was a fantastic season, made even better by a victory at the Suzuka 8 Hours, again teamed with Colin Edwards.
For 2002, the inaugural year of the MotoGP era, Honda fielded Rossi on a 990cc factory RC211V. Now running inside HRC’s factory team, the Italian won the new platform’s first round and at eight of the first nine races. By season’s end, he had amassed eleven wins in sixteen events, taking the crown by a commanding 140 points.
The 2003 season was similarly lopsided, as Valentino climbed the top step of the podium on nine occasions, earning the fifth world championship of his career.
The 2004 season was historic: Valentino decided to leave the most dominant motorcycle of the time to ride for Yamaha, which hadn’t won a title in twelve years, taking Burgess and his crew along with him. After completely changing the bike during winter testing Valentino wrote another page in the history books, winning his very first race aboard his new YZR-M1, in South Africa, and becoming the first rider ever to win two consecutive premier-class races aboard bikes from different manufacturers. That win was followed by a further eight throughout the course of the season, and Valentino beat Spaniard Sete Gibernau for the title.
The 2005 season once again saw the MotoGP world championship go to Rossi. With eleven victories and just one result off the podium, Valentino earned his seventh title, with 147 points to spare over compatriot Marco Melandri.
The 2006 season saw the Italian plagued by a number of technical problems, but he still managed to post five wins—more than any other rider that season. In the end, Valentino lost the championship to the more consistent Nicky Hayden by just five points.
In the first year of the 800cc MotoGP era, Rossi once again faced daunting competition, this time mainly from new Ducati rider Casey Stoner. Once again plagued by a few too many technical problems, Valentino topped four of eighteen races and scored an additional four podium finishes, but he finished the season third behind the Australian and—by just one point—Spaniard Dani Pedrosa.
The ’08 season marked a return to glory: having switched from Michelin tires to Bridgestone, the incomparable Italian won nine races on his way to world championship number eight (six in the premier class), enjoying other successes along the way, such as his seventh consecutive win at Mugello, his first win of his career at Laguna Seca, and victory at legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s inaugural Grand Prix, in challenging weather conditions.
The 2009 season would see Rossi’s title count extended to nine, thanks to six victories and a further six podiums, giving him a 45 point margin over teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
That teammate rivalry wouldn’t continue in 2010, except for the very first part of the season, which Valentino started off with a win at the Qatar night race. Shortly after that—on April 15, to be specific—Rossi suffered a shoulder injury while practicing on a motocross bike. When, during practice for his home race at Mugello, he crashed and suffered an exposed fracture of his right tibia, Rossi lost any chance of a successful title defense. Nonetheless, after undergoing an operation to repair the fracture, he worked hard on his rehabilitation, with the objective of returning as quickly as possible. Initially, optimistic guesses had The Doctor coming back at the Brno round, a little over two months after his injury, but after undergoing intensive therapy (including time in a hyperbaric chamber) and doing two status-confirming tests aboard a superbike, Valentino returned to action at the Sachsenring, just forty-one days after his crash. Rossi rode to a heroic fourth-place result in his comeback race, then finished on the podium in the next round, at Laguna Seca. Still plagued by both of his injuries, Valentino nonetheless climbed the podium six more times, including a win at Sepang, and finished third on the year behind new champion Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
Immediately after the Brno Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, it was announced that Valentino Rossi would be moving to Ducati MotoGP for 2011, with a two-year agreement. Thanks to special permission from Yamaha, he was allowed to take part in the post-season test at Valencia. The next Sunday, Valentino underwent an extensive operation to the shoulder injured in the motocross crash. The procedure was carried out at Cattolica’s Cervesi Hospital, by Dr. Alex Castagna, from Milan’s Humanitas Institute, and Dr. Giuseppe Porcellini, from the Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Unit at Rimini’s Azienda USL.
During the two-hour arthroscopic surgery, the surgeons repaired the supraspinatus tendon and the long head of biceps tendon, as well as cartilage in the Glenoid Labrum.". Over the winter, the Italian once again underwent an intensive rehabilitation program in the gym and swimming pool in preparation for the off-season tests on the Ducati GP11, scheduled for February 1-3 at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
View the full website biography of Valentino Rossi.