Valentino Rossi - 2008 Rider Profile
Five-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi starts
his fifth season with Yamaha in an unusual position,
following what 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. 2008 will see Rossi hungry to win back the
title he previously made his own for five years as
he sets out on a new chapter in his career, having
made the switch to Bridgestone tyres.
Born in Urbino, Italy on 16th February 1979, Rossi
was riding bikes from an early age thanks to the influence
of his father Graziano, himself a former Grand Prix
winner. Following an early start in go-karts, Rossi
junior progressed to minimotos and quickly showed
a talent for two-wheels, becoming regional champion
in 1992. The next few years saw him quickly rise up
through 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 3rd 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 ?nished his ?rst international
season in 9th 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 ?rst 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 ?nishing 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 ?rst 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, ?nally clinching the World Championship
title, Yamaha`s ?rst for 12 years, with victory at
the penultimate Grand Prix in Phillip Island. A ?nal
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 ?ve pole positions and only ?nishing
off the podium once. In doing he became one of only
?ve riders in the history of the sport to win the
premier-class title on ?ve 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 premierclass career, having
lost the title to Honda’s Nicky Hayden by just
?ve points following a ?nal-race showdown in Valencia.
Despite this, Rossi still took ?ve race wins and ?ve
pole positions in 2006, more than any other rider,
and stood on the podium ten times.
He turns 29 in February 2008 and remains the youngest
rider to have won World Championships in all three
classes. He continues to have the support of his long-standing
Crew Chief, Jeremy Burgess, who moved from Honda to
work with him at Yamaha Factory Racing in 2004.
One of the most popular members of the paddock, ‘The
Doctor` has a wide fan base all over the world. A
keen football fan and an accomplished rally driver,
He is based in London between races.
- Date of Birth: 16/02/1979
- Place of Birth: Urbino, Italy
- Nationality: Italian
- Residence: London, UK
- Height: 182 cm
- Weight: 59 kg
- Marital Status: Single
- Hobbies: Soccer, radio-controlled toys
- Total Races: GP starts: 197 (137 x MotoGP/500cc,
30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
- Victories: 90 (64 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc,
12 x 125cc)
- Pole Positions: 49 (39 x 500cc/MotoGP, 5 x 250cc,
5 x 125cc)
- Podiums: 139 (99 x 500cc/MotoGP, 21 x 250cc,
15 x 125cc)
- Wins: 7 (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 4 x
- First Race: 1991
- First Grand Prix: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
- First Pole: 1996
* correct as of 26.05.2008
2008: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
2007: 3rd, MotoGP World Championship
2006: 2nd, MotoGP World Championship
2005: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
2004: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
2003: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
2002: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
2001: 500 MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
2000: 2nd, 500 MotoGP World Championship
1999: 250 GP WORLD CHAMPION
1998: 2nd, 250 MotoGP World Championship
1997: 125 GP WORLD CHAMPION
1996: 9th, 125 MotoGP 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
Valentino Rossi Quote - 28th September 2008,
after winning the World Title;
“I think it’s difficult to say, but maybe
this is even better than the first championship with
Yamaha in 2004. In 2004 I arrived after three championships
in a row; the change was very big and no one expected
me to win then, not even us to be honest! But this
year is great too because I didn’t start as
the number one favourite after losing for two years.
The taste of this is something special.
“In 2006 I lost because of bad luck; I still
won the most races and was the fastest on track for
most of the time, but in 2007 Stoner was a lot faster
than us and so we got to the end with a big of disadvantage.
Winning this championship was very difficult but also
very, very important.
“The decision to change to Bridgestone tyres,
which I took together with Jeremy, my team and all
the Yamaha crew, was very important, as were the changes
to the bike because the first 800cc M1 last year was
not competitive enough. We spoke a lot during last
season and I remember a strange meeting in Valencia
last year, me with a broken hand, speaking with Furusawa
about 2008. From then we started to work on the improvements
for this season. It’s also been important to
have the right people in the right place and this
year everything has been correct. It’s been
“I think I have made a lot of good decisions
this year and we have been competitive from the start.
Qatar was the worst race of the season but I knew
our potential was good so, although we were a bit
worried at that point, we weren’t desperate
because we knew if we fixed a few problems we could
try to win.
“I grew up a lot in the last two years, because
at the end of 2005 I had a great career and I had
won all the important targets so far. 125, 250 and
then five titles in a row in MotoGP with two different
bikes – I felt unbeatable. But in 2006 and 2007
I learnt to lose and this has been very important.
I came out much stronger and my level of concentration
and effort to win this championship has been higher
than ever before.
“This season has had some different periods.
At the beginning of the year we had some important
results when Bridgestone wasn’t the strongest:
Jerez, Portugal and others, and in that period we
took a big advantage from Stoner. After Barcelona
Casey started to ride like a demon and dominated three
races in a row, and then we went to Laguna which was
the turning point of the season. Laguna was a real
battle and from then on we have flown.
“The show after the race was one of my friends
pretending to be a ‘notary’, signing and
certificating the eighth championship ‘deed’.
It was very exciting to be planning the championship
t-shirt and celebration once again with my friends
and fan club and the one we came up with is funny
I think, it says ‘I’m sorry for the delay!’
“I am very content at Yamaha and this is why
I signed for two more years. I had some good offers
at other factories, but I already changed bike once
and proved everything I wanted to and so there is
no need to do that again. Also I am no longer 20 years
old and I need a good atmosphere in my team in order
to keep me focused and happy, and I have this at Yamaha.
The atmosphere in our team, from the Japanese all
the way down to the garage is fantastic and this is
what makes me want to stay.
“I think 2009 will be even more difficult than
this year. Now I am the world champion again and I
have demonstrated that I am still very fast; I think
I rode the best of my career this year apart from
the mistake in Assen, but next year is another story,
it depends on how the winter is and how Stoner, Pedrosa
and also Lorenzo are next year, as well as the other
riders because there are many fast people in this
championship. I think it will be a great championship
and I’m looking forward to it, but first I want
to finish this year and try to win the final three
“As I said, there are many strong riders but
of course I hope that in the future nobody will win
like Valentino Rossi! Maybe my brother Luca will be
as strong as me…I wanted to take him on my bike
on the celebration lap, but they did not allow it.
Maybe I will wait for him to be a MotoGP rider before
quitting, then I will beat him in the first year,
and then I will stop riding!
“When you are 20 or 22 yrs old, you live everything
in a different way. It’s different… In
2000, maybe, I could have won on my debut, but I underestimated
myself! In 2001 it was the last chance for me to win
in 500, so I gave it my best and did that. In 2001
it was the year of the battle with Biaggi, in 2002
it was the year when everybody said that I won because
of my bike, then 2003 was the year of Gibernau, it
was hard until the end. They were fantastic years
but with Yamaha it is different. I enjoy it more.
“During 2003 I started thinking about Yamaha.
Of course I was scared about the new challenge, it
was a big question mark. This year, when I tested
the new bike and the new tyres, I understood that
I could win. In 2004, however, when I tested the new
bike I understood we had to work a lot. Sincerely,
the feeling of winning in Welkom in 2004 was the strongest
emotion of my career; more so than in Laguna Seca
this year. The 2005 the M1 was very fast and that
one and the 2008 one are the best Yamaha bikes ever.
“I think Stoner next year will be back stronger
again, so maybe he is the hardest rival I have ever
had, more than Gibernau and all the others I fought
against in the past. Last year I was sorry that after
so many successful years, some people thought Valentino
was finished and Casey was the new Valentino. As I
said, until I stop riding a bike, my objective will
always be to win. I like this life and I always try
to do my best in it.”
Statistiscs on Valentino Rossi's career
In becoming only the second rider ever to win the
MotoGP World Championship following a two-year gap,
Valentino Rossi has cemented his place amongst the
legends of motorcycle racing. A return to the form
that won him five consecutive premier-class titles
between 2001 and 2005 has seen the Italian reinstated
at the very pinnacle of the sport, with a host of
career milestones reached along the way.
Here is a full list of Rossi’s historic
MotoGP achievements in 2008:
- Rossi has joined Giacomo Agostini as one of only
two riders to have taken six or more premier-class
- Rossi is only the second rider to regain the premier-class
title after a two year gap – the other rider
to do this was also Agostini.
- This is Rossi’s eighth world title across
all classes. Only Agostini with 15, Angel Nieto,
with 13, Mike Hailwood and Carlos Ubbiali, with
nine each, have won more.
- Rossi is the first rider to win the premier-class
title on four different types of motorcycle: 500cc
4-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc 5-cylinder four-stroke,
Yamaha 990cc 4-cylinder four-stroke and a Yamaha
800cc 4-cylinder four-stroke.
- It is eleven years since Rossi’s first World
Championship success in the 125cc class in 1997.
The only rider with a longer period between his
first and last titles is Angel Nieto, who won the
50cc crown in 1969 and the 125cc equivalent in 1984.
- With his 69th career MotoGP win at Indianapolis,
Rossi broke Giacomo Agostini’s record for
the most premier-class victories; a record that
has stood since the legendary Italian’s final
victory at the West German Grand Prix in 1976.
- With 37 wins, Rossi has had more success with
Yamaha than any other factory in his career
- Rossi is also Yamaha’s most successful rider,
having scored 13 more premier-class wins for the
factory than Kenny Roberts.
- With three races to go he is the only rider to
have scored points in every round of the 2008 season.
- Rossi’s sequence of five straight race wins
since Laguna Seca is his longest run of wins since
2005, when he also scored five successive victories.
Other facts about Rossi’s career.
In 1997 Rossi became the second youngest ever 125cc
World Champion after scoring 321 points and eleven
Two years later, he became the youngest ever 250cc
World Champion with nine wins.
In 2001 Rossi joined Phil Read as one of only two
riders ever to win the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc titles.
Rossi’s debut victory for Yamaha at the opening
race of 2004 in South Africa made him the first rider
in history to take back-to-back wins for different
After winning the MotoGP World Championship three
times with Honda, Rossi took his fourth premier-class
title with Yamaha in 2004 and became the only rider
other than Eddie Lawson to win consecutive premier-class
titles for different manufacturers.
Valentino Rossi - Career
- Nationality: Italian
- Born: 16th February 1979 in Urbino, Italy
- World Championships: 8 (6 x MotoGP/500cc, 1 x
250cc, 1 x 125cc)
- GP victories: 96 (70 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc,
12 x 125cc)
- GP podiums: 148 (112 x MotoGP/500cc, 21 x 250cc,
15 x 125cc)
- GP Pole Positions: 51 (41 x MotoGP/500cc, 5 x
250cc, 5 x 125cc)
- First GP: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
- First GP win: Czech Republic, 1996 (125cc)
- GP starts: 207 (146 x MotoGP/50cc, 30 x 250cc,
30 x 125cc)