Valentino Rossi. The Doctor. The GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
What can’t this guy do? He is 9-time world champion; 7 premier class titles, 250cc and 125cc. These figures make Rossi possibly the greatest motorcycle racer of all time. This is however, what most of us know him for. It does not stop there though. Rossi seems to have the ability to master anything with an engine and wheels, whether it be 2 or 4.
After a long, tough season, battling it out for the title in his sixteenth season in the premier class, Rossi went on to testing for the 2017 season with new teammate, Maverick Vinales. You would think that from there he would take a break, go on holiday and get prepared for another long season in MotoGP. Not Vale…
Just this last week, Rossi, alongside co-driver Carlo Cassina, took his fifth Monza Rally Show victory. With this he equalled the victory record held by retired Le Mans 24-hour driver, Rinaldo Capello. Rossi was driving his M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta, obviously covered in the familiar Rossi colours and the number 46.
Rossi finished ahead of some seasoned rally riders. Current WRC driver, Daniel Sordo (Hyundai), finished second, 18.4 seconds behind Rossi. Marco Bonanomi, Citroen endurance racer, finished third.
Rossi tally then stands at 9 MotoGP titles, as well as 5 Monza Rally Show titles. But that’s not where it ends. On top of being a title winning racer like no other, Rossi has done a number of other incredible things that make the everyday guy like me green with envy.
Where do I even start? Number one, Rossi is a racer. He loves it and it’s clear for everyone to see. He has seen close friends come and go in the sport and yet he keeps going. He has always said that he will keep going, for as long as he can, until the day he no longer enjoys it. As much as you can tell just how much Rossi loves racing in MotoGP, you can really get an idea for his passion for racing away from MotoGP. While everyone is on holiday, he is racing rally cars.
In 2002, Rossi took part in the Great Britain round of the World Rally Championship. Rossi unfortunately crashed out, but he showed good pace and was hooked. His second go at WRC came in 2006 at the penultimate round of the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship. He would finish 11th in a field of the world’s best rally drivers, driving a Subaru Impreza at the time.
Vale has already become the king of MotoGP, the premier motorcycle championship. Where do you go from there? What else could you possibly want? A drive in a Formula 1 car of course!
Rossi has taken part in an official Formula 1 test for the Ferrari team among other teams and riders from the Formula 1 field. Rossi stunned as he finished the test, held in Valencia, in 9th position. He finished ahead of some top names in the sport at the time. The likes of; David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica. Rossi was a mere 1.622 seconds back from then World Champion, Fernando Alonso. Vale tested the Ferrari as an official test driver on a number of occasions, impressing in each outing. Rossi was close to making the switch from MotoGP to Formula 1 but, thankfully for us MotoGP fans, he decided to concentrate on capturing more MotoGP titles.
Nascar. The all American sport. Not the place you would expect to find an Italian Motorcycle racer. Rossi though, just had to have a go. After racing in Austin, Rossi made his way to the Charlotte Motor Speedway to have a go in a Nascar. As it is with The Doctor, he doesn’t merely drive someone’s Nascar, he drives one customized with his famous Rossi colours and the number 46 on it. Rossi started out slowly, but was soon doing what Rossi does best and setting competitive pace. He got to consistent times that would put him within the top fifteen in the Nationwide series.
As if we needed any more evidence, this all just proves the pure talent that Valentino Rossi processes for racing. Away from the track, he is showing that his not just a guy who can go fast around a track.
Rossi is the owner of a ‘little’ brand called VR46. VR46 is responsible for all branded clothing for a number of top riders in all MotoGP classes. Although Rossi has his right hand men to help him keep all this going, he is very involved in all that goes on with the VR46 brand.
Another part of the VR46 brand is the VR46 Riders Academy. The academy is a form of giving back to racing from Rossi. He is developing the careers of future racing stars. A lot of the training is given at Rossi’s Ranch in his hometown of Tavullia where he has his very own flat track.
From the VR46 rider’s academy stemmed the VR46 official racing team. Team Sky VR46. The team started out in Moto3, and as of next season, will feature in Moto2. I’m sure there are plans for the team to eventually feature in the MotoGP class.
Valentino Rossi has become such a massive name in motorsport that even the MotoGP video game now bears his name. In 2015 it was announced that Valentino Rossi, MotoGP 2016 would be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Now that we get a chance to take this all in, and realise what Valentino Rossi has achieved, it’s obvious to see just why he is known as the greatest of all time (The GOAT).
The question now remains, what can’t he do? Achieve his goal of ten World titles? He did say at a recent VR46 dinner that he is confident he can win the title next season. We will all be watching. Let’s see if Rossi can prove even further that he is truly the Greatest!
My word on Vale, The Greatest of All Time!