Riders and Teams Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi

Born in Urbino, Italy on 16th February 1979, Valentino Rossi was riding bikes from an early age thanks to the encouragement of his father Graziano, himself a former Grand Prix winner. Following an early start in go-karts, Rossi junior progressed to mini-motos and quickly showed a talent for two-wheels, becoming regional champion in 1992. The next few years saw him quickly rise up through the ranks of junior road racing, claiming the Italian Sport Production Championship in 1994 and the Italian 125cc Championship in 1995. The latter, twinned with an impressive third place in the 125cc European Championship, was enough to secure him a ride in the World Championship the following year.

Rossi’s World Championship debut came at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 1996 and he finished his first international season in ninth place with one race win. The following year he became the youngest ever rider to win the 125cc World Championship, winning eleven races along the way with Aprilia. The pattern continued when he moved into the 250cc class, taking second place in his first year before becoming World Champion in 1999, once again with Aprilia.

In 2000 he entered a new phase of his career when he joined forces with Honda in the 500cc class. He proved his worth once again by finishing second, before becoming the last ever 500cc World Champion in 2001. Rossi subsequently took the MotoGP™ World title in 2002 and 2003, before moving to Yamaha and winning it again in 2004 and 2005.

Rossi made history by moving to Yamaha in 2004 and winning the season opening Grand Prix in South Africa, becoming the first rider in the history of the sport to win back-to-back premier class races for different manufacturers. He went on to win nine out of 16 races, finally clinching the World Championship title, Yamaha’s first for 12 years, with a victory at the penultimate Grand Prix in Phillip Island. A final win at the Valencia Grand Prix also ensured that the Yamaha Factory Team won the team title.

He dominated the 2005 season, winning eleven races in total, taking five pole positions and only finishing off the podium once. In doing so, he became one of only five riders in the history of the sport to win the premier-class title on five occasions. He also helped Yamaha to win the Manufacturers’ and Team titles; ensuring Yamaha celebrated its 50th Anniversary with one of its best ever years in Grand Prix. 2006 saw him finish World Champion runner-up for only the second time in his premier-class career, having lost the title to Honda’s Nicky Hayden by just five points following a final-race showdown in Valencia. Despite this, Rossi still took five race wins and five pole positions in 2006, more than any other rider, and stood on the podium ten times.

2007 was undoubtedly one of the hardest seasons of his career. Rossi took four race wins in 2007 and several podiums, but his prodigious talents were limited by technical and tyre problems as well as plain bad luck. The Italian missed out on the runner-up spot in the championship by just one point after his final race was wrecked by injury and third place was his lowest championship finish since his rookie year in 1996. After a torrid two seasons, Valentino Rossi returned to winning form in 2008 and recaptured the MotoGP™ title. The Italian won nine races - equal to his first season with Yamaha in 2004 - and stood on the podium at 16 out of 18 rounds. Notable highlights in an exceptional year included a seventh straight win at Mugello, a titanic duel with Casey Stoner in Laguna Seca, where Rossi had never previously won, and a historic victory at hurricanestruck Indianapolis. Rossi eventually took the title in the best possible way, with a victory at Yamaha’s home track in Japan, with three races to go. It was his eighth career title and his third with Yamaha.

2009 saw Valentino Rossi cross more milestones in his incredible career and take a ninth world championship title, his fourth with Yamaha. He showed that after fourteen years of racing in the World Championship he is still the best rider of his generation and worthy of his crown. The Italian hero took six wins in a season that saw him and his rivals all make mistakes at times, as they pushed each other to unexpectedly great heights. Rossi’s battle with his teammate Jorge Lorenzo reached epic proportions with the Battle of Barcelona due to go down in history as one of the greatest ever, Rossi triumphing with an audacious last-corner move that saw him win by just thousandths of a second. His incredible run of Mugello victories came to an end but he made up for it with a perfect performance at his home track of Misano when he also took one of his seven pole positions. His victory in Holland was the 100th win of his career, further proof, if any is needed, that he truly is one of the greats. He finally secured the title at Sepang with several races still to run.

2010 proved to be one of the toughest of his career with Yamaha. The then World Champion suffered a fall in practice at Mugello, breaking his leg and effectively ending any hopes of challenging his then team-mate Lorenzo for the title. As the season drew to a close, he made a comeback to score several podiums and a race win in Malaysia, wrapping up 2010 in third position despite having missed a total of four races. To the disappointment of Yamaha race fans the world over, it was at this point that the Italian chose to embark on a new adventure, leaving Yamaha for a two-year stint at Ducati.

It was with great excitement that the announcement finally came mid-season in 2012 that he would return to again partner Lorenzo in Yamaha Factory Racing, back, where many believe, he belongs. The 2013 season proved to be a big challenge for the 34 year-old rider, Rossi finding it a big task to get to grips with the new qualifying system and the evolution of the Bridgestone tyres on the YZR-M1. Despite this, he made a welcome return to the top step of the podium with a victory in Assen and added a total of six podium finishes to his end of year tally. Rossi was as enthusiastic as ever as he embarked on his ninth season with Yamaha in 2014. Looking to shake things up and get a fresh perspective, the Italian took a big chance and opted to start the season with a new Crew Chief. Bringing Silvano Galbusera into the team proved to be smart choice, the crew adapting quickly and working well together to achieve some impressive results. Rossi became a regular podium finisher and then made the extra step, sending his home crowd wild at the Misano circuit with a superb victory, a feat he was to repeat later in the year with a second win at Phillip Island to secure second in the final world standings.

Arriving to the 2015 season in top form and ready to attack, Rossi soon set the tone for Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.’s 60th anniversary year. A win at Doha at the start of the 18-races long championship send an early message that the Doctor was again going to be a force to be reckoned with as he let his experience shine. His strong opening race was followed by a total of 14 podiums, a thrilling victory in Argentina and a brilliant win at Assen where he went straight through the gravel trap in the final chicane. The only rider who could measure up to Rossi’s flurry of consistent podium finishes, only missing out twice in Misano and Phillip Island, was team-mate Lorenzo. He briefly took over the lead in the championship standings after Brno, but this only spurred Rossi on further as he went on to take a strong win in Silverstone, one of just three circuits on the MotoGP™ calendar he had never won at before.

Having reclaimed the provisional first place in the championship standings, the 36 year old withstood the pressure from Lorenzo as the fight for the title went down to the wire. A part from two slight blips in difficult flag-to-flag race in Misano and a legendary fight with Marquez, Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone in Phillip Island, Rossi’s maintained a perfect podium score card. Even when tension ran high in Malaysia and he was forced to start at the back of the grid in Valencia he still managed to ride from 26th position to fourth place in a thrilling race that will be remembered as one of the best comeback-races in MotoGP history. However, despite showing his undeniable talent and dedication, it was not enough to secure his tenth FIM MotoGP World Championship title and he ended the 2015 season as the runner-up, five points behind his teammate.

Last year once again saw The Doctor in sparkling form with two more MotoGP race wins and another championship silver medal. His performances helped Movistar Yamaha MotoGP to the team title, while the legend’s unerring enthusiasm for the sport, which includes supporting the next generation of stars through his famous riding ranch and VR46 Racing Team, ensures that he is as popular with the fans as he has ever been.

He equals Mike Hailwood and Carlo Ubbiali, who both wrote nine titles to their names in all classes, only Giacomo Agostini and Angel Nieto have more. Furthermore, with 55 wins from 189 races Rossi remains the most successful Yamaha racer of all time since he joined the Japanese factory, with 11 more wins to his name than Lorenzo, who is Yamaha’s next most successful rider, and finally Rossi is the only rider to win premier class titles in five different types of motorcycles (500cc four-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc five-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 990cc four-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 800cc four-cylinder four-stroke and a Yamaha 1000cc four-cylinder four-stroke).

Personal Profile

Valentino Rossi
Date of birth:16-02-1979
Place of birth:Urbino, Italy
Height:181 cm
Weight (kg)69 kg
Marital state:N.A.
Hobbies:Soccer, radio-controlled toys, rally racing
Total races:GP starts: 348 (288 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Victories:114 (88 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
Pole positions:61 (51 x 500cc/MotoGP, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
Podiums:221 (185x 500cc/MotoGP, 21 x 250cc, 15 x 125cc)
Wins:114 (88 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First race:1989
First Grand Prix:Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
First pole:1996

Career highlights

2016:2nd MotoGP World Championship, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
2015:2nd, MotoGP World Championship, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
2014:2nd, MotoGP World Championship
2013:4th, MotoGP World Championship
2012:6th, MotoGP World Championship
2011:7th, MotoGP World Championship
2010:3rd, MotoGP World Championship
2007:3rd, MotoGP World Championship
2006:2nd, MotoGP World Championship
2000:2nd, 500cc MotoGP World Championship
1998:2nd, 250cc World Championship
1996:9th, 125cc World Championship
1995:125cc Italian Champion
1994:125cc Italian Sports Production Champion
1993:3rd - 125cc Italian Sports Production Championship
1992:Regional Minimoto Champion
1991:4th - Italian Junior Go-Kart Championship
1990:Regional Go-Kart Championship - 9 wins
1989:First Go-Kart Race