Monday, June 30, 2008

Rossi Crash Down!

Oh no! What a race yesterday Rossi crash down after hit Randy de Puniet in the 4th GP race in Assen, Netherlands. It was really not his style to be in a hurry to in early lap just to catch Stoner. He usually wait until he and his motor is stable then he will run faster and faster. But yesterday was really shocking that he was in a hurry and hit Randy de Puniet. Poor de Puniet also fell down and couldn’t continue his race but not with Rossi. He still tried hard to get his motor stand up and continue his race until he got in 11th position (after becoming in 13th, the last position).

“I Made A Mistake”

This is what I adore about Valentino Rossi, he always say the truth. If the engine doesn’t work well he admit it, when he made a mistake he also admit it. He seems to be objective person. In the last week race, Rossi admitted that it was his mistakes to crash down and hit Randy de Puniet. He apologized to de Puniet and explained his mistakes to his fans.
Valentino Rossi, for all his undoubted talents, has never been the best of starters in MotoGP races. Identifying this as an area for improvement, and with the prospect of Assen poleman Casey Stoner making a breakaway at the head of the race, the Fiat Yamaha rider was going all-out in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately for the five-time World Champion, the gamble didn´t quite pay off, as on the opening lap he came unstuck due to a combination of over-exuberance a cold tyre and the tricky first left hander of the race.
`Unfortunately I made a mistake on the first lap, on the first left corner,´ admitted Rossi frankly after the A-Style TT Assen. `I went in too fast with a cold tyre and lost the rear.´
The Italian remounted his M1 and fought his way back to eleventh place after overtaking Marco Melandri and Toni Elias, but the rider taken out in his first lap fall was unable to do so. Rossi extended his apologies to LCR Honda´s Randy de Puniet, holding up his hand for the collision between the two.
`I took De Puniet with me when I crashed, so I have to say sorry to him. It was a bad mistake, because today we improved the setting of the bike and had great pace, and could even have challenged for the win,´ lamented the rider, having conceded the lead in the World Championship to Dani Pedrosa.
`It was an important mistake for the championship, but we are on the pace, we are fast and the championship is very long. One mistake in a year is possible after seven races on the podium.´

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Attributes

Valentino Rossi has gone through numerous helmet designs throughout his career, most featuring the Sun & Moon motif, signifying (according to Rossi) the two sides of his personality. The Author of the design of Valentino's helmet is Aldo Drudi.

Rossi is a very superstitious person and his pre-ride rituals are well known. Prior to riding (whether racing, qualifying, or practice), he will start his personal ritual by stopping at about 2 metres from his bike, bend over and reach his boots (thus the 2004 TV spoiler "Are you ready boots?"). Then, when arriving at his bike, he will crouch down and hold the right-side foot-peg, with his head bowed. It is not known whether he is in silent prayer, if he is getting in the correct frame-of-mind needed to ride, or paying respect to a fellow racer, family member, or friend. He will also be adjusting the fit of his leathers by standing straight up on the foot-pegs, whilst riding the pit-lane before the start of race or practice; this may merely be a matter of comfort, which has become a much-commented upon habit. He also revealed in an interview with that he always puts one boot on before the other, one glove on before the other, and he always gets on the bike the same way. He also spends time with his bike in the garage the night before a race checking the positions of all the stickers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Nicknames

Valentino Rossi has had numerous nicknames during his racing career. His first prominent nickname was "Rossifumi." Rossi explained the etymology of this nickname as a reference and tribute to fellow rider Norifumi Abe.
His next nickname appeared some time around his days racing in the 250 cc World Championship. The nickname "Valentinik" was a reference to the Italian Donald Duck superhero, "Paperinik."
Since his dominance in 500 cc and MotoGP, Rossi has used the nickname "The Doctor." This has been attributed to his "cold and clinical dismantling of his opponents" as well as his cool and calm composure in racing compared to his frenetic days in 125 cc and 250 cc where his performance was erratic and dangerous, resulting in numerous crashes. There are two theories as to why Rossi is entitled "The Doctor", one is Rossi adopted the nickname upon having earned a degree, which in Italy entitles one to use the title "Doctor". Another, as spoken by Graziano himself, "The Doctor because, I don't think there is a particular reason, but it's beautiful, and is important, The Doctor. And in Italy, The Doctor is a name you give to someone for respect, it's very important, The Doctor... important". Although Valentino often jokes that the name arrived because in Italy, Rossi is a very common surname for Doctors. These days Rossi rarely crashes and in fact holds the record for the longest streak of consecutive podiums. From September 8, 2002 to April 18, 2004, he stood on the podium at the end of all 23 races including every race in 2003.

He has always raced with the number #46 in his motorcycle grand prix career. Rossi has stated that the original inspiration for this choice of number was the Japanese "wild card" racer Norifumi Abe whom he saw on television speeding past much more seasoned riders in a wet race. He later found out that it was the number his father had raced with in the first of his 3 grand prix career wins, in 1979, in Yugoslavia, on a 250c Morbidelli. Typically, a World Championship winner (and also runner-up and third place) is awarded the #1 sticker for the next season. However, in a homage to Barry Sheene (who was the first rider of the modern era to keep the same number), Rossi has stayed with the now-famous #46 throughout his career. The text on his helmet refers to the name of his group of friends: "The Tribe of the Chihuahua", and the letters WLF on his leathers stand for "Viva La Figa", Italian for "Hurray the Pussy". He has so far escaped any sanctions or ultimatums that he take the letters off because of the "W" for the first letter. Readily apparent is the "W" standing for the two "V"s in "ViVa", and equally obvious is his success at escaping any disciplinary action from the FIM or Dorna for having the letters so brazenly on the front neck of his leathers. He traditionally also incorporates his favorite color (fluorescent yellow) into his leather designs. Up until the 2007 season, Rossi wore the #1 reserved for the reigning World Champion on the shoulder of his racing leathers.

From GP to GP

The 2006 MotoGP season started off with Rossi, once again, being the favorite to take the Championship, but he had trouble in the first half of the season. Rossi finished 14th in Jerez, making an amazing comeback after Toni Elias pushed him at the very first corner, and had a pair of DNFs in Shanghai and Le Mans due to tyre and electronic problems respectively. Nicky Hayden held the points lead throughout most of the season, but Rossi was slowly working his way up the points ladder. It wasn't until Motegi when Rossi finally grabbed 2nd in the points race behind Hayden. In the Portuguese Grand Prix, the second to last race of the season, Hayden was taken out by his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, and did not finish the race. This led to Rossi taking the points lead with only one race left in the season. Rossi crashed early in Valencia, the last race, and Hayden went on to win the 2006 MotoGP Championship. Rossi finished the season in 2nd place.
Valentino Rossi returned to MotoGP for the 2007 season riding the new Yamaha YZR-M1 800 cc. In the first race in Qatar he came second to Casey Stoner on the Ducati Desmosedici. In the second round of the season Rossi won the Race with Dani Pedrosa in second place and Colin Edwards in third giving both Yamaha riders podiums. Casey Stoner returned to winning ways in the third and fourth races of the season at the Turkish and Chinese grand prix on his extremely quick Ducati, which has enjoyed a top speed advantage over the rest of the field. Another reason for Stoner's consistency during the 2007 season in comparison with Rossi's mixed results is the advantage Ducati's tyre supplier, Bridgestone, appears to have over its rival, Michelin, who supply tyres for Rossi's factory Yamaha.
Rossi's lowly 10th position at Turkey was put down to a defective tyre and while he managed to bounce back to a second place on the podium at China, a poor tyre recommendation from Michelin was blamed for his 6th place finish in the wet French grand prix at Le Mans. Bridgestone riders took all 3 places on the podium at the French tyre giant's home race, and Rossi went on the record to say that Michelin must urgently address various weaknesses. Indeed it seemed they paid heed to their wake up call when Rossi cruised to victory at his home race, the Italian grand prix at Mugello, ahead of Dani Pedrosa, also Michelin-shod on his factory Honda. Championship leader Casey Stoner was beaten to the last podium place at Mugello by Brazilian veteran Alex Barros on a satellite Ducati with Bridgestone tyres.
Rossi's grip on the championship loosened slightly at Catalunya and Donington, finishing second and fourth respectively to winner Casey Stoner, however the Assen race was won by Rossi who charged through the field from 11th on the grid after a poor wet qualifying session to challenge and eventually beat Casey Stoner to the chequered flag by 1.5 seconds. At the half-way point of the 2007 season Rossi was the closest challenger to Casey Stoner's title aspirations, trailing by 21 world championship points. In the month of June, commonly called "Rossi's month" with races consisting of Mugello, Catalunya, Donnington Park and Assen, both Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner have scored 83 points each; 2 x 1st place, 1 x 2nd place and 1 x 4th place. This has been done in conditions favourable to the Italian manufacturer and in some cases left Rossi on the fourth row with a point to prove.
Sachsenring saw a disastrous performance from the Italian. After qualifying fourth on the grid, whilst Stoner took pole, Rossi had to use race day to his advantage. Come Sunday, Rossi lined up with a fever of 102 degrees and dropped down to 8th by the end of the first lap. A pass on Randy De Puniet at the tight Omega corner saw Rossi lose the front, catch it then lose it completely and skid off into the gravel where his right hand clip on was damaged leaving him out of the race on lap 6. Luckily problems for Bridgestone in the blistering heat saw Stoner finish 5th stretching his championship lead by 11 points to 32 ahead of "The Doctor". A visit to Laguna Seca for the USGP, Rossi finished 4th place behind Stoner, Vermeulen, and Melandri respectively.
The end to the summer break in the 2007 season landed the MotoGP paddock at Brno, with various new changes to the Fiat Yamaha. Qualifying 6th for the race start on Sunday morning after struggling in free practice, Rossi spent his rear Michelin early on in the race chasing Capirossi to make it up to 5th. Eventually tyre issues got the best of the 7 times world champion and Rossi crossed the finish line in 7th, a whole 22 seconds behind 1st place man Casey Stoner. This now leaves Rossi 60 points behind the Championship leader with only 150 points up for grabs.
Misano saw Rossi starting from 2nd on the grid behind Casey Stoner. An engine failure five laps in resulted in Rossi falling 85 points behind Stoner as he finished first. A start from 3rd on the grid in Estoril ended in a no holds barred race with Pedrosa as they both accelerated out of the last corner sideways for Rossi to take the race win and gain 9 points in the World Championship on Stoner who finished in third.A wet race confused the front runners at Motegi as the track dried out quickly with everybody still on wet tyres. Rossi fought his way to first and whilst in front of Melandri, put in some impressive lap times. A late bike change got the Doctor back out in second behind Capirossi, but cold intermediate tyres ended in Rossi running of the track at the end of the back straight, another pit stop put Rossi back out in 13th with nothing else to do but watch Stoner take the World Championship.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Answer The Challenge

There was much speculation during the second half of the 2003 season about Rossi's plans for the future. Most suspected that he would succeed in his bid to claim a third consecutive title and wondered where the amazingly talented Italian would go in the future. His contract with Honda was up at the end of the year and there were rumours that Rossi had become somewhat disillusioned with his ride at Honda. His tenure at Honda had effectively run its course; he had provided Honda with a 500 cc World Championship as well as consecutive MotoGP World Championships, he had helped perfect the RC211V into a formidable, almost unstoppable racing machine and considering Honda's reluctance to pay top dollar to secure his services in 2004, seemed to have overstayed his welcome.

Partnered with increased scepticism that the reason for his success was the dominance of the RC211V rather than Rossi's talent, it was inevitable that Honda and Rossi would part. Mid-season rumours pointed towards a possible move to Ducati, which sent the Italian press into frenzy; the concept of the great Italian on the great Italian bike seemed too good to be true. Ducati did indeed try to seduce Rossi into riding their MotoGP bike, the Desmosedici, but for numerous reasons Rossi passed the offer up. Critics say that compared to the other manufacturers, Ducati had a significant way to go before being competitive even with Rossi at the helm. This proved to be the truth with Ducati's lacklustre performance in the 2004 season, which had actually been worse than their inaugural year in MotoGP in 2003.
Ultimately, Rossi signed a two-year contract with rivals Yamaha reportedly worth in excess of (U.S) $12 million; a price no other manufacturer, even Honda, was willing to pay.Rossi's move to Yamaha would be a baptism of fire. His fiercest critics claimed that on an inferior machine (the Yamaha YZR-M1), Rossi would not be able to recreate his World Championship wins of the previous years, especially with increased development of the RC211V and the likes of Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau on Hondas. The RC211V was a superior machine in almost every aspect although it was guaranteed that the gap would shrink with the defection of Rossi and Jeremy Burgess (chief mechanic for Rossi at Honda, whom Rossi had also convinced to join). The 2004 season would give Rossi the ability to show everyone, especially his critics what he was made of and provide him with an opportunity to prove that it was his talent rather than his bike that won him his championships.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Rossi's Championship Era

In 1994, Aprilia by way of Sandroni, used Rossi to improve its RS125R and in turn allowed Rossi to learn how to handle the fast new pace of 125 cc racing. At first he found himself on a Sandroni in the 1994 Italian championship and continued to ride it through the 1995 European and Italian championships.
Rossi had variable success in the 1996 World Championship season, failing to finish five of the season's races and crashing several times. Despite this, in August, he won his first World Championship Grand Prix at Brno in the Czech Republic on an AGV Aprilia RS125R. He finished the season in ninth position. Rossi treated it as a learning process and refined his skills enough to completely dominate the 125cc World Championship in the following 1997 season, winning 11 of the 15 races.
By 1998, the Aprilia RS250 was reaching its pinnacle and had a formidable team of riders in Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Tetsuya Harada. But even with a fast bike and experienced championship-winning teammates, Rossi struggled in his first season in 250cc. Rossi considered 1998 the toughest year of his career, due to the persistent pressure to perform that he felt from Aprilia, the media and effectively everyone around him. The death of two of his friends in a car accident also took a toll. Again, he found himself learning the ways of his new bike in the first season, concluding the 1998 250cc season in second place, only three points behind the champion Capirossi. In 1999, however, he won the title, collecting 5 pole positions and 9 wins.
Rossi was rewarded in 2000 for his 250cc World Championship by being given a ride with Honda in what was then the ultimate class in World Championship motorcycle racing, 500cc. Jeremy Burgess, had shown him the NSR500 and was convinced that the pairing of it with Rossi would bring nothing but success. Retired 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan, who also had Jeremy Burgess as chief engineer, worked with Rossi as his personal mentor in the first year at Honda. It would also be the first time Rossi would be racing against fierce rival, Max Biaggi. Although the two had never raced against each other, an intense rivalry had developed. It would take nine races before Rossi would win on the Honda, but like his previous seasons in 125 and 250, it was a warm-up to a dominant second season. Rossi finished 2nd to American Kenny Roberts, Jr., with Max Biaggi finishing in 3rd place.
Rossi won his first 500cc World Championship in 2001, winning 11 races. It would be the final 500cc season for Rossi and most of the premier class. Also in 2001, Rossi teamed with American rider Colin Edwards for the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race aboard a Honda VTR1000SPW. The pair won the race despite Rossi's lack of experience racing Superbikes.
2001 was the final year of the 500 cc World Championship; the 500 cc giving way to the newly created MotoGP class. 2002 was the inaugural year for the MotoGP bikes and with all riders experiencing the same teething problems getting used to the new bikes (or dealing with the inferior 500 cc bikes), Rossi won the first race went on to win 8 of the first 9 races of the season, eventually claiming 11 victories in total.
It was more of the same in 2003 for Rossi's rivals; Rossi claimed 9 pole positions as well as 9 GP wins to his third consecutive World Championship. The Australian GP at Phillip Island in 2003 is considered to be one of Rossi's greatest career moments due to the unique circumstances in which he claimed victory. After being given a 10-second penalty for overtaking during a yellow flag due to a crash by Ducati rider Troy Bayliss, 1st-place Rossi proceeded to pull away from the rest of the field, eventually finishing more than 15 seconds ahead; more than enough to cancel out the penalty and win the race.

Rossi's Early Carreer

Valentino Rossi was son of Graziano Rossi, a former motorcycle racer, he first rode a bike at the age of two. Rossi’s first racing love was go karts. Fuelled by his mother, Stefania’s concern for her son’s safety, Graziano purchased a go karts as substitute for the bike. However, the Rossi family trait of perpetually wanting to go faster prompted a redesign; Graziano replaced the 60cc motor with a 100cc national kart motor for his then 5 years old son.
Graziano attempted to forge documents in an attempt to get Valentino’s junior kart license one year before he was legally allowed (he was 9 at that time), but ultimately failed.
Rossi won the regional minimoto was for fun; Rossi continued to race karts and finished fifth at the national karts championship in Parma. Both Valentino and Graziano had started looking at moving into the Italian 100cc series as well as the corresponding European series, which most likely would have pushed him into the direction of Formula 1. However, the high financial burden of racing karts led to the decision to race minimoto exclusively. Through 1992 and 1993, Valentino continued to learn the ins and outs of minimoto racing.
Rossi soon started to outgrow minimoto; a proper motorcycle was required. In 1993, Rossi acquired a Cagiva Mito 125 cc motorcycle, which was damaged in a first-corner crash no more than a hundred meters out from pit lane. He finished ninth that race weekend.
Although his first season in the Italian Sport Production Championship was varied, won a pole position at the season's final race at Misano, where he ultimately would finish on the podium. By the second year, Rossi had been provided a factory Mito by Cagiva team manager Claudio Lusuardi and won the Italian title.